Launch of enhanced supplementary labour scheme

5 October 2023 2 min read

By Emily Gallagher

On 28 August 2023, the Labour Department announced that they would begin accepting applications for the Enhanced Supplementary Labour Scheme (ESLS) on 4 September 2023.

The purpose of the ESLS is to alleviate manpower shortages across various sectors by allowing employers to apply for approval to employ imported workers, at a technician level or below, to fill vacancies where they have difficulties recruiting staff locally.

Under the ESLS, employers will undertake a four-week local recruitment exercise for the relevant vacancies and the Labour Department will concurrently job-match and refer suitable local candidates to the employer to fill the vacancies. After review of the Labour Advisory Board’s views, the Labour Department will then consider whether to approve or refuse each application. If approved, employers will have to pay a levy of HKD400 for each imported worker and the imported worker can be employed for a period of up to 24 months under a standard employment contract and must be paid no less than the median monthly wages of local workers in similar positions.

Imported workers are only allowed to work for their employers and within the limits of their job duties which are specified in the standard employment contract. They must return to their place of origin on expiry of their contracts.

The approval granted to an employer to import workers will not be automatically renewed. An employer who wishes to continue employing imported workers upon the expiry of their contracts are required to submit a new application to the Labour Department in advance of continued employment.