Population adviser uncertain of their effects on HK Government population advisers say it is too early to say whether the rise in the number of mainlanders giving birth in Hong Kong should be a long-term consideration. 'The problem of mainland women giving birth to babies in Hong Kong does put pressure on our administration and medical services. But will these babies become permanent residents in Hong Kong? We do not even know if these babies are here to stay,' said Wong Siu-lun, convenor of the Council for Sustainable Development's support group on population policy. The group was looking at the sustainable development of Hong Kong in the long run, he said. Professor Wong was speaking yesterday at a summit on population strategy, which focused on four themes: quality of life, the fact Hong Kong families were having fewer children, manpower issues and the ageing population. The event was attended by representatives of business, the social welfare, education and other sectors. Ideas put forward will help the Council for Sustainable Development formulate recommendations on population policy, to be submitted to the government next year. Professor Wong noted the government had set up an interdepartmental taskforce to consider the issue of mainland mothers coming to Hong Kong to give birth and to get a clear picture of the problem. 'It is still not known whether these babies will return to the mainland or move to other countries. So it is better to first have a more in-depth study of the matter before taking the issue into account when forming long-term population policy,' he said. 'I think the government has already started an internal discussion on the matter. We have to wait for the government to finish its study before covering the issue in our policy discussion.' Last week, an interdepartmental meeting chaired by Chief Secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan was held in an effort to find ways of ensuring that local mothers have priority over non-residents in obstetric services.