The Government is considering relaxing the rules on importing mainland technology professionals into Hong Kong in order to cope with the demand generated by the Cyberport project. The Admission of Talents scheme, launched last December, aims to attract people of high cal ibre from overseas and the mainland. However, so far only 33 professionals have been recruited. Although the scheme is mainly targeted at mainlanders, other nationals are welcome, except those from Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Afghanistan, North Korea, Cuba and Albania. Secretary for Security Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee admitted that the Security Bureau were only able to recruit 33 out of 260 applicants. Originally, the bureau expected to recruit between 1,000 and 2,000 professionals. Officers were not surprised because every developed nation is competing for the top brains. Mainland professionals who have arrived are working in the fields of information technology, multimedia, environmental engineering, chemistry, finance, Chinese medicine and biotechnology. Most will earn between $20,000 and $80,000 a month, while the top earners will make between $240,000 and $280,000. The hi-tech industry in the mainland is also growing and there is a deficiency of top professionals. Most mainland talents are lured back to their motherland by appealing bonuses and tax inducements. In view of the disappointing response, the bureau is stepping up a publicity drive to source talents and help companies lure experts. 'We are reviewing our entry policy in order to attract more candidates . . . Hong Kong welcomes talents from overseas and China,' Mrs Ip said. She said the scheme was not successful because there were too many restrictions, such as the candidates must come from the assigned 36 universities in the mainland. These restrictions are likely to be cancelled. Jackie Ma Lai Pik-yin, executive director of the Employers' Federation of Hong Kong, said the problem was finding talented people and persuading them to come to Hong Kong. The bureau is considering lifting the quota on imported professionals, but local employees fear that it would lead to worsening unemployment in the SAR. The Government said the admission system would not affect the unemployment situation as the imported experts mainly work in professional fields. It is important to strike a balance in order to help the SAR become the technology hub of Asia.