EMPLOYERS have been warned against trying to use a scheme to import talent from the mainland as a way of recruiting cheap labour. Immigration Department assistant director Siu Chung-kit said many companies wrongly thought the government plan offered them a chance to hire low-paid mainland workers. One toy firm had wanted to hire four mainlanders for $8,000 a month. The scheme, for which applications opened on Friday, is designed to lure specialists and experts to Hong Kong to help boost the economy, Mr Siu said. 'The applicant must have a PhD degree and be proved to be outstanding in special fields. Their pay must be at the same level as that of local employees,' he said. He said the department had handed out 324 application forms on the first day. Mr Siu said the department would evaluate each applicant carefully to make sure the Government's requirements were met. 'We will be very tight when processing applications. If we have any doubt, we will ask the mainland authorities for assistance.' Up to 2,000 specialised employees will be allowed to work in Hong Kong over the next year under the Admission of Talent Scheme.