Secretary for Labour and Welfare Chris Sun invited by HKCIEA to present latest policy to ease labour shortage (25 September 2023)

In expanding the scope of its work, the Hong Kong Chinese Importers’ and Exporters’ Association (HKCIEA) strives to come up with new ideas. Under the coordination of Vice President and Honorary Secretary Wan Hang-ping, HKCIEA hosts the Political and Business Talk every month after the Hong Kong Council meeting. On 25 September 2023, Secretary for Labour and Welfare Chris Sun Yuk-han was invited to be a keynote speaker of the talk and give a briefing on the latest situation of supplementary labour in Hong Kong. He also exchanged views with council members in attendance.

In his welcome speech, HKCIEA President Pui Kwan-kay pointed out that various sectors in Hong Kong are currently facing labour shortage, which is a thorny issue unfavourable to Hong Kong’s future development. Pui said the business sector is pleased that the government is taking the issue seriously and coming up with solutions, including the Labour Importation Scheme for the construction and transport sectors unveiled recently. After Secretary Sun took office, his department has been conducting manpower projection, timely identifying market demand for manpower and economic trends while adopting practical measures to solve the problem of manpower shortage. All the efforts have proved effective.

During the sharing session chaired by HKCIEA Vice President and Honorary Secretary Wan, Director Sun said that with the Supplementary Labour Scheme renamed as the Enhanced Supplementary Labour Scheme (ESLS), the government has suspended the general exclusion of 26 unskilled or low-skilled posts from labour importation. The suspension will last for two years. The wage levels offered by employers to the related imported workers must be no less than the median monthly wages of similar posts in Hong Kong. ESLS started accepting applications on 4 September 2023. The Labour Department has aimed at processing all screened ESLS applications within three months. Meanwhile, the government has launched Sector-specific Labour Importation Schemes to help the construction and transport sectors ease labour shortage. The application process has been streamlined, making the approval process more flexible.

After the talk, President Pui, Vice President and Honorary Secretary Wan, legislator Kennedy Wong Ying-ho (import-export sector) and Vice President Ho Chi-ho presented a certificate of appreciation to Secretary Sun. More than 50 people attended the event, including Vice Presidents Andrew Chan Shiu-shan, Eddy Li Sau-hung and Pong Kin-yee, Vice Honorary Secretaries Byron Wong Tsz-wan and Sophia Lee Shuk-woon, and Executive Directors Luna Chiu Chung Yuet-king and Sam Chan Chi-cheuk.

During the interactive session of the event, council members enthusiastically exchanged views with Secretary Sun regarding how to attract more non-mainland talents to Hong Kong and the types of work for imported labour.

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