Hong Kong Eases Entry Rules to Attract Foreign Workers Amid Manpower Shortage

Hong Kong is taking action to alleviate labor shortages by introducing new entry rules that will attract foreign workers. Chief Executive John Lee warned of the risks posed to the city's economy and competitiveness due to the pressing labor crunch. The government plans to set recruitment quotas for industries suffering from severe labor shortfalls, including construction and aviation.

Hong Kong has announced plans to ease entry rules in order to address a significant shortage of manpower in the financial hub. The government aims to attract approximately 27,000 foreign workers to industries experiencing severe labour shortfalls, such as construction and aviation.

The move comes in response to Chief Executive John Lee’s warning about potential risks to the city’s economy and competitiveness resulting from a “serious labour crunch.”

Hong Kong Eases Entry Rules

Secretary for Labor and Welfare, Chris Sun, emphasized the crucial role of the labour force in driving economic development during a press briefing where the plan was unveiled.

The new measures aim to mitigate the impact of structural factors, including a shrinking local workforce and existing immigration policies, which have contributed to labour shortages across various sectors in Hong Kong.


Quotas for Foreign Workers

Under the new plan, the government has set recruitment quotas for foreign workers in industries facing acute labour shortages. Secretary for Development, Bernadette Linn, revealed that up to 12,000 foreign workers will be recruited in the construction sector.

Additionally, Secretary for Transport and Logistics, Lam Sai-hung, highlighted the need for 6,300 labourers in the aviation industry, particularly in front-line airport roles. The shortage of airport staff has adversely affected the city’s aviation hub.

Challenges in the Aviation Sector

The Hong Kong International Airport has been operating with a 32% reduced workforce since the onset of the pandemic. As a result, the airport lacks sufficient staff for passenger check-in, baggage handling, and catering services.

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., the flagship carrier, has also faced a chronic shortage of staff due to significant job cuts and changes in workplace conditions during the pandemic.


Recruitment Process and Sector Coverage

Applications for jobs in the construction and transportation sectors, among others, will be accepted starting in July. The government estimates that it may take around two months to process the applications.

A total of 26 sectors will be covered under this program, providing opportunities for foreign workers to contribute to Hong Kong’s economic growth.

Secretary for Labor and Welfare, Wong, indicated that the worker quotas are expected to be fully utilized by the next year. Many of the recruited workers are likely to come from mainland China, aligning with previous practices.

Hong Kong’s economy has experienced rapid growth in the first quarter, emerging from recession as the lifting of pandemic restrictions stimulated spending. Economists participating in the latest Bloomberg survey anticipate a GDP growth rate of 4.6% for the year, projecting an acceleration as the economic rebound gains momentum.


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Manish Khandelwal
Manish Khandelwal

Manish Khandelwal, a travel-tech enthusiast with over a decade of experience in the travel industry. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Travelobiz.com, he's passionate about writing.

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