The Labour Department plans to help Hong Kong jobseekers find work on the mainland. Commissioner for Labour Pamela Tan Kam Mi-wah is expected to announce the move as part of a number of new services during her 2001 end-of-year briefing this morning. Under the scheme, mainland firms will be contacted and encouraged to post vacancies on the department's jobs Web site. Jobseekers will also be offered advice about working on the mainland and details on labour laws and accommodation. 'The move will form part of an extension of our employment service for the coming year,' a spokesman said. Hong Kong companies sometimes advise the department when they have vacancies requiring work on the mainland but such posts are few. Officials are understood to have been drawing up plans for the new service since Mrs Tan visited Beijing and Shanghai last year. The potential popularity of a mainland job service was demonstrated last week when more than 12,000 SAR jobseekers turned up to an employment fair offering about 750 posts in China. The SAR jobless rate hit 6.1 per cent in the last quarter of last year. A recent City University study found 32 per cent of 2,690 people surveyed would consider a career on the mainland. Federation of Hong Kong and Kowloon Labour Unions vice-chairman and Labour Advisory Board member Poon Siu-ping hailed the proposal. 'Other than the occasional employment fair and personal referrals, local workers do not have any proper channel to find jobs on the mainland or learn more about working there,' he said. Taxation Institute of Hong Kong president Thomas Lee Kang-bor warned that any move to encourage skilled professionals to seek work on the mainland could reduce SAR income tax revenue. Any resident spending more than 183 days outside Hong Kong each year and working for a non-SAR employer is exempt from paying Hong Kong income tax. 'Some of the income tax currently paid by Hong Kong professionals will slip to the mainland since they have to stay there for the greater part of the year due to the nature of their employment,' Mr Lee said. 'However, as long as the families of such workers remain in Hong Kong, they, through their relatives, will continue to spend their money here and this will be reflected in the collection of corporate taxes.'