THE Government is to table a bill in the Legislative Council this winter to allow voting by proxy in next year's Legco elections, the Sunday Morning Post can reveal. But more than 500,000 Hong Kong emigrants and students studying overseas are unlikely to benefit. And the Government's failure to include them has drawn criticism from a migrant group. Meanwhile, legislators have expressed reservations, saying voting by proxy may lead to fraud. A spokesman for the Constitutional Affairs Branch, who admitted it would be looking into proxy voting, said there was no plan to allow for absentee voting for Hong Kong people staying overseas. He refused to say if the bill would be tabled in the Legislative Council this winter, but he pledged: ''When we have formulated definite proposals, we will consult the Legislative Council and the public.'' Proxy voting will allow voters who are out of town, or unable to vote in person for various reasons, to cast their ballot through someone else. At present, Hong Kong emigrants who want to exercise their right must fly back to the territory to do it in person. The same goes for those who have qualified for permanent residency in Hong Kong and are registered voters but are out of the territory. Although the Government did not provide figures about potential voters overseas, it is estimated that 503,600 people emigrated from 1980 to last year. A foreign passport holders' group said they would lobby the Government to provide access for emigrants to vote overseas. Guy Lam Kwok-hung, chairman of the Hong Kong Association of Chinese and Expatriates, said the Government was ''responsible for providing the mechanism for us to exercise our rights''. ''The 1995 Legco election is very important, it's the historical moment, lots of emigrants overseas care about this election and they should have the chance to vote,'' he said. ''Even though they have emigrated, they are still permanent residents, so they are entitled to vote and the Government should make it possible.'' He said postal and proxy votes were feasible ways for emigrants to cast their ballots. The association would examine the options and give their suggestions to the Beijing-appointed Preliminary Working Group. But Liberal Party legislator Howard Young rejected the move. ''They have already emigrated - I don't care whether they should cast their ballots in the election or not,'' he said. ''I think it's a waste of resources to provide facilities to enable these emigrants who are thousands of miles away to vote. Why not use the resources to boost local voter turnout?'' United Democrats legislator Cheung Man-kwong also strongly opposed the introduction of proxy voting. ''I am absolutely against proxy voting,'' he said. ''The election result would be significantly affected since proxy voting would be likely to generate fraud. ''This is different from company shareholders voting by proxy because majority shareholders could reverse the results if they were dissatisfied, but there is no way for voters to reverse the results after the election.'' Mr Cheung insisted voters should vote in person at polling stations.