The Hong Kong government is trying to determine if new countries in the region may be able to provide domestic workers to meet its growing needs, especially for elderly citizens.

Following Cambodia and Myanmar, another Southeast Asian country – Laos – may be considered as a new source for domestic workers, secretary for Labor and Welfare Dr Law Chi-kwong said during an interview with the Hong Kong Economic Times.

But the government needed to consider the political environment and any security issues in Laos before making a plan, he said.

Law said the reasons why the government selected Cambodia and Myanmar as sources for domestic workers included their religion – Buddhism, as he believed that Buddhists were, in general, kind and have a pleasant personality, which could help them to get along with local employers.

Moreover, economic development in Cambodia and Myanmar was stable, and offering a better salary could attract people to leave their countries to work overseas.

Hong Kong needs 600,000 domestic workers over the next 30 years to take care of its ageing population, but Dr Law emphasized that the government needed to plan ahead to compete with other countries in regard to attracting a supply of domestic workers.

Meanwhile, the government will launch a pilot scheme next year to boost the nursing skills of domestic workers so they better meet the needs of elderly people.

Law said domestic workers who join the scheme would be those taking care of elderly people. He said the government wanted to train them and improve their skills so they can follow the instructions of a physiotherapist and/or nursing personnel.

Once domestic workers were trained they could help elderly people do the training at home.

Law said it was inevitable that in the long run workers would be imported for elderly care, as there was a severe lack of labor in the local market. There simply was enough workers to meet increasing demands.

Read: First domestic workers from Cambodia due in HK this month

Read: 300 domestic workers to be trained for home-based elderly care