Academic journal article International Journal of Employment Studies

Employment Services That Help New Arrivals at Hong Kong from Mainland China

Academic journal article International Journal of Employment Studies

Employment Services That Help New Arrivals at Hong Kong from Mainland China

Article excerpt

To help new arrivals at Hong Kong front Mainland China to secure a living, employment services play an essential role. However, the key to success of these services is far front transparent. The present study is therefore necessary to elucidate the successful paths in terms of four approaches, namely, the developmental, efficacy, person-work fit, and person-centred approaches. It collected data front 152 new arrivals having used services of the largest employment service in Hong Kong. Results indicate that these service users' experiences of the four approaches differentially contributed to their outcomes in knowledge, social integration, satisfaction, and effort related work, and perceived helpfulness of the employment service. Moreover, their combined experiences of the four approaches identified three levels, with the highest level engendering the most favourable outcomes. On the other hand, the user's experiences of the service approaches partly emanated from counselling, networking, and facilitating services rendered by the employment service. The counselling service, its particular, could bolster the user's work satisfaction directly and indirectly through its contribution to the user's experience of the person-work fit approach. In all, the employment service can hold the four approaches as the guidepost for its service delivery.

INTRODUCTION

Obstacles and inadequate adaptation to employment are problems prevailing among immigrants (Li 2000). These people necessarily need formal services that help them accommodate to the labour market (Chow 1999). Moreover, these services need to relieve immigrants' strain experienced from problems in assimilation, discrimination, over-qualification (Buriel and De Ment 1997; Duvander 2001; Freeman 2000; La Lande and Topel 1991; Landale and Oropesa 1999). Their work participation is especially desirable, with the retrenchment of public welfare and encouragement of workfare instead (Brandon and Tausky 2000). For fostering immigrants' work adjustment, many forms of services can be in use (Chow 1999), but their relative effectiveness and effective components are largely unclear. Clarification of the working approaches to helping new immigrants is therefore the purpose of the present study that involves new arrivals at Hong Kong from Mainland China.

New arrivals from Mainland China are subject to careful screening and have to queue up for a long time before coming to Hong Kong. Although Hong Kong has been a Special Administrative Region of China since 1997, it imposes an immigration policy to limit the number of new arrivals from Mainland China to a quota of 150 per day. Hong Kong is relatively small and crowded, compared with the Mainland, yet attracts scores of Mainland inhabitants to settle there. Many eligible arrivals are family members of inhabitants in Hong Kong, and many of whom marry women in the Mainland. Despite their prior enthusiasm and optimism to settle in Hong Kong, new arrivals tend to face difficulty in assimilating to Hong Kong, whose sociocultural context is patently different from that in China. The arrivals' past qualification and experience may have little use for their employment in Hong Kong. For instance, the use of English and speech in Cantonese are obstacles to them because native people in Hong Kong prefer and can speak only Cantonese. Evidently, new arrivals need formal training on these daily skills. As such, they can benefit from employment services available 'in Hong Kong. The service rendered by the Hong Kong Council of Social Service, which represents all social service agencies in Hong Kong, appears to be the largest service of its kind. When this service generously collaborated in the study in 1999, it had served more than 1,000 new arrivals since its commencement in 1996.

More than giving a panoramic description of the tasks done by the Employment Service of the Hong Kong Council of Social Service, the study examines the effectiveness of service approaches provided to and experienced by service users for their work adjustment. …

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