China is planning a points system in issuing one-way permits following complaints that the burden of welfare needs caused by split immigrant families had become too heavy for Hong Kong. The objective of the new system is to help spouses and children in the mainland to emigrate together to reduce the number of single fathers and family problems arising from separations. The Immigration Department would also monitor the system by checking the background of the arrivals when they crossed the border. The points to be granted will depend on the applicants' number of years of marriage and the number of children in Hong Kong and the mainland. Social workers suggested spouses who had been married longest and those - either spouses or children - who already had family members in Hong Kong should receive the highest points. Sources said the plan was close to completion and was expected to be in place by the end of the year. Unpublished figures from the Social Welfare Department revealed that at least 512 new arrivals joined the recipients of public assistance last year. Despite the policy that only those who had lived in the territory for a year could apply, discretion had been made to a number of families for emergency relief. A spokesman said the department started to keep records of the new arrival recipients last year in view of an obvious increase of applications from the sector. Resources given to voluntary agencies to run social services for new arrivals have been increasing and will be more than double next year as at least 50,000 immigrants are expected. The Director of the Society for Community Organisation, Ho Hei-wah, said many of the 150 one-way permits in the daily quota had not been issued to the right people. 'Some spouses who have married for just two years have managed to come, but others could not even have their applications considered although they have been married for over 10 years,' he said. 'Many fathers have to give up work to rely on public assistance because they have to look after their children without the mothers.' The organisation met Security Branch officials yesterday to voice their concerns. A representative of immigrant families, Hui Chi-man, 55, said he gave up his job last November because his four children, aged from four to 13, were suddenly allowed to come at the same time. His wife, to whom he has been married for 16 years, had to stay behind. 'I've tried to find out the reason from people in the mainland authority and was told that children could go first because the Hong Kong Government could take care of their welfare,' Mr Hui said. He said it had been a headache for him to look for school places for all of the children and look after them on his own.