A DECISION to raise the age limit for children of Hong Kong parents entering the territory from China could cause unemployment to escalate, concern groups fear. People aged up to 20 and born to Hong Kong parents will now be able to apply for one-way permits. The decision by Guangdong authorities followed concerns from the Hong Kong Government about the ability of schools to cope with a large influx of children. Under the Basic Law, children of Hong Kong citizens have right of abode in the territory after 1997. A quota system was set up in the 1970s to prevent a sudden influx after the handover of sovereignty. The Government announced last May that the quota would be increased from 105 to 150 every day. Fifteen places each day are allocated to legitimate spouses of Hong Kong citizens who have been married for more than 10 years. Another 30 places will be distributed among two age groups - up to five years and 16 to 20 - to stagger the arrival of the children. The arrangement took effect on July 1 and will last 12 months. Previously, age was not taken into account in the wait for permits. Concern groups said authorities on both sides of the border had underestimated the pressure the new scheme might put on the job market. Spokesman for the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, Ng Sze-long, said those aged over 16 would not be required to go to school. Having no skills, they would have no choice but to hunt for low-paid jobs creating a 'vicious circle of competition among the poor and unskilled'. Assistant Secretary for Security Ingrid Ho said the target group represented a small percentage of the work force and was unlikely to cause problems.