July 18, 2023
Recent statistics released by the Census and Statistics Department in March of this year have indicated a decline in Hong Kong's labor force, with approximately 3.77 million individuals, representing a decrease of around 170,000 compared to the same period in 2020. The shortage of labor is not limited to high-skilled or professional positions but is prevalent across various industries and occupations, affecting both professional and grassroots roles.
Historically, discussions surrounding the importation of foreign workers have primarily focused on the "quantity" of such workers, while the aspect of "quality" has received relatively less attention. It is imperative for our society to shift its attention towards ensuring the quality of foreign workers and regulating the intermediaries involved in their recruitment and placement.
In May of this year, the DAB conducted visits to the Macau Federation of Trade Unions, the Institute for Continuing Education of Macau, and the Mainland Operations Center of the Vocational Training Council - "Vocational and Professional Education Services (Shenzhen) Company Limited" with the aim of gaining insights into the situation concerning foreign workers. Based on our findings, we have drafted a policy proposal that focuses on promoting cooperation with Mainland to strengthen the following aspects:
Establishment of a cross-border training mechanism for foreign workers, aimed at enhancing their "quality" and their ability to adapt to Hong Kong's workplace environment.
Implementation of an information communication mechanism to enhance the regulation of foreign worker intermediaries.
In the short to medium term, we recommend the following actions:
Establish recognized cross-border training bases within the mainland.
Foster mutual recognition of professional skills between Hong Kong and the mainland.
Strengthen the regulatory framework surrounding foreign workers.
For the long-term, we propose the following measure:
Encourage the establishment of branch campuses of local business schools in the mainland, which would serve as training centers for foreign workers.
These policy initiatives aim to address the pressing need to enhance the quality of foreign workers and ensure their seamless integration into the Hong Kong workforce, thus benefiting both the workers themselves and the overall economy.
DAB spokesperson on manpower and LegCo member Frankie Ngan 6600 2511.