Boosts for labour scheme
By CATHERINE NG
TWO top officials have appeared to pre-empt the review of the controversial labour importation scheme, by indicating that it would not be scrapped.
Secretary for Education and Manpower Michael Leung Man-kin and Financial Secretary Sir Hamish Macleod were speaking at separate pre-retirement briefings.
Mr Leung said he would be 'very surprised' if the scheme was abolished, while Sir Hamish said: 'My preference is to fine-tune the scheme.' The Government has deflected growing pressure for the scrapping of the scheme by stressing the need to look into details of how and whether it works.
A 'more focused scheme would help take some of the heat out' of the vocal demands for an end to the plan allowing employers to bring in overseas workers for the sector in need, Sir Hamish said.
Mr Leung insisted the policy should not be linked to the recent spate of large-scale staff lay-offs.
'If we see things from another perspective, even abolition of the scheme is not relevant as it offers only 20,000 quotas, but there are 100,000 unemployed or more,' he said.
Results of the review are scheduled to be announced in October.
The Government will decide after the review whether to stick to the scheme, the quotas, the application criteria, and the ways of preventing abuse.