Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Monday, Apr 22, 2024

Hong Kong unveils plan to allow 7,000 workers to be imported for elderly care homes

Hong Kong unveils plan to allow 7,000 workers to be imported for elderly care homes

New plan aims to ease the acute manpower shortage in the sector and cut down processing time of applications from five months to two.

As many as 7,000 carers could be imported to work in Hong Kong’s elderly care homes under a fast-track plan aimed at easing an acute manpower shortage in the sector, local authorities said on Wednesday.

The scheme, which could be launched as soon as the middle of next year, could cut the processing time for applications by about 60 per cent to two months, mainly by stripping the Labour Advisory Board of any say in vetting candidates.

Under the initiative, which was approved by the Executive Council on Tuesday, all care homes, including government-subsidised ones, would be able to apply to import non-locals as carers, instead of the present practice which only allows private organisations to do so.

While the new plan received a warm welcome from care home operators, unionists have voiced their opposition to the scheme, arguing that the staff shortage should be addressed by increasing salaries.

Unionists do not support the new scheme but care home operators welcome it.

Lawmaker Kingsley Wong Kwok, of the Federation of Trade Unions, criticised the government for seeking to bypass the consultative body.

“Low pay and heavy workloads have made working at elderly homes unattractive. The government can increase subsidies to the institutions and ask them to cap carers’ working hours,” he said.

Wong also suggested the government encourage local housewives to work part-time at care homes.

At present, there are about 15,700 carers working in some 1,100 local residential homes for the aged or the disabled, with the figure including some 4,000 imported workers, mainly from mainland China.

According to estimates by the Labour and Welfare Bureau, the sector has experienced a staff shortfall of about 1,600 as of last year.

The bureau also estimated that an extra 4,500 carers would be needed by 2025-26 to cope with new demand for service and higher staffing requirements under proposed laws to upgrade services.

Even with the special labour import scheme, the sector would still have some 1,500 vacancies to fill by then, according to the bureau.

“We need to take timely measures to cope with the expected demand for service,” said a bureau spokesman. “We propose that at any one time the total quota number for the imported carers under the special scheme should not exceed 7,000.”

“This should reasonably address the manpower shortage in the residential care home sector, and at the same time leave sufficient vacancies for the local workforce generated by new projects and upgraded services in the next three years,” the spokesman added.

Under the new scheme, the maximum number of carers a private home is allowed to import is equal to the number of the facility’s local full-time staff members.

Meanwhile, government-subsidised homes will be allowed to employ one imported care worker for every two full-time local employees.

Applications will be vetted by an interdepartmental group headed by the director of social welfare.

At present, there is a Supplementary Labour Scheme for employers to apply to import workers. Employers whose applications are accepted are required to go through a four-week local recruitment exercise to show there are no suitable candidates available in the local market.

After that, applications are then passed on to the Labour Advisory Board for consideration, and the government then decides whether to approve or refuse a request based on the recommendations.

The entire process currently takes an average of five months, according to the government.

Kenneth Chan Chi-yuk, chairman of the Elderly Services Association of Hong Kong, welcomed the scheme but said he hoped the government would lift the cap of 7,000 to allow more flexibility.

“If one day the demand for carers is bigger than 7,000, the shortage will not be able to be eased and it will in turn affect service and our planning,” Chan said.

He also rejected unionists’ criticisms that the pay for carers was too low, saying the average pay was now HK$20,000 (US$2,572) a month.

“We can of course raise it to HK$30,000 a month to attract more people. But it will in turn increase operating costs and we may have to increase our rates. But many of our residents are living on public assistance.”

Lawmaker Frankie Ngan Man-yu, of the Democratic Alliance for Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said the government had taken the move to tackle the labour shortage at local care homes.

Ngan also urged the government to review the manpower situation in such trades as catering, construction, or cleaning, to see if similar labour import schemes should be introduced for them.

The government will consult the Labour Advisory Board and the care home sector in the coming two months.


Related Articles

Hong Kong News
It's always the people with the dirty hands pointing their fingers
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Steve Jobs' Son Launches Venture Capital Firm With $200 Million For Cancer Treatments
Google reshuffles Assistant unit, lays off some staffers, to 'supercharge' products with A.I.
End of Viagra? FDA approved a gel against erectile dysfunction
UK sanctions Russians judges over dual British national Kara-Murza's trial
US restricts visa-free travel for Hungarian passport holders because of security concerns
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Political leader from South Africa, Julius Malema, led violent racist chants at a massive rally on Saturday
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
'I am not your servant': IndiGo crew member, passenger get into row over airline meal
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Spanish Citizenship Granted to Iranian chess player who removed hijab
US Senate Republican Mitch McConnell freezes up, leaves press conference
Speaker McCarthy says the United States House of Representatives is getting ready to impeach Joe Biden.
San Francisco car crash
This camera man is a genius
3D ad in front of Burj Khalifa
Next level gaming
BMW driver…
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.