Push to retrain mainlanders

A legislator has threatened to table a private member's bill to allow new mainland migrants to take Employees' Retraining Board courses if the Government fails to do so.

Chan Yuen-han, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong, said her party planned to move the bill if the Government did not amend the Employee Retraining Ordinance, giving the mainlanders a chance to improve their skills.

'I know most of them can only work as hawkers because they are not competitive enough in the job market,' Ms Chan said after a meeting with Home Affairs Department officials.

'A lot of them are quite skilful and only need some training to equip them better.' At present, only permanent Hong Kong residents are eligible for the courses.

Lee Lap-sun, Deputy Director of the Home Affairs Department, said consultants had been employed to review the possibility of changing the law, and their report was due soon.

The DAB is also to meet officials from the Civil Affairs Ministry and the Public Security Ministry in China to discuss the possibility of distributing information booklets to immigrants before they leave for Hong Kong.

'It is to give them better preparation,' Ms Chan said.