The Hong Kong government may allow more maids from overseas who work in the city to help care for the increasing number of elderly.

The Labor Department and Security Bureau were planning to set up an interdepartmental group to create a mechanism to hire foreign nurses from the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia and other Southeast Asian countries, Sing Tao Daily reported, quoting government sources.

The move would be mentioned in the first policy address by chief executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor next week.

To avoid maids working in Hong Kong changing to elderly-care jobs due to better pay, the government will need more workers trained in elderly care from other countries in aged-care centers.

The current median wage for a care-giver working in a private elderly center is HK$12,000 (US$1,537), or HK$14,000 for staff working in government subsidized centers for the elderly.

The government plans to launch an experimental scheme early next year to upgrade the nursing skills of a few hundred maids already in Hong Kong doing home-based elderly care, Oriental Daily reported.

The government has predicted that at least 100,000 foreign maids may be needed in coming years, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported. It said the government may also consider allowing those with experience in home-based elderly care to work in aged-care centers via a labor importation scheme.

The Journal also quoted sources as saying the government might have a plan to try to persuade the Indonesian government to lower its fees for training elderly-care workers to attract more Indonesians to work in Hong Kong.

Read: 3,000 Indonesian maids to be trained for elderly care in HK