Secretary for Labour and Welfare Dr Law Chi-kwong, left, is seen with Cambodia's Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Dr Ith Samheng in a meeting last month on enabling Cambodians to work as domestic helpers in Hong Kong. Photo: HK Government

The first batch of dozens of domestic workers from Cambodia could arrive in Hong Kong at the end of this month but the number will be way under the government’s original target of 1,000 announced in April.

The first batch of domestic workers have applied for visas and they are waiting for responses from the Immigration Department, the manager of City Employment Paradise Co, surnamed Chan, said. She hoped they could arrive in Hong Kong by end of this month, Hong Kong Economic Times reported.

Fung Siu-ling, who runs Indo Indah, said she expected around 200 Cambodian workers to arrive in Hong Kong at the end of this year and early next year.

The Cambodian maids are mostly aged around 30 and have experience from working in Singapore and Malaysia, Fung said. And they know how to speak English or Mandarin.

Employment agencies would provide training so they can learn Cantonese as well.

Fung admitted that there had been a lukewarm response in Cambodia, as people in the country were not familiar with the Hong Kong market.

Hong Kong officials announced in April that they would relax visa requirements to allow Cambodians to work, study and visit the city. It was expected that an initial group of 1,000 domestic workers could arrive in Hong Kong by September.

Meanwhile, Dr Lam Ching-choi, chairman of the Elderly Commission, revealed on Wednesday that the government is planning to subsidize the cost of hiring domestic workers for single elderly residents.

However, Lam worried that even Southeast Asian countries could not provide enough workers to meet the rising demand for carers in the city.

He said the government would continue to reach out to more countries to try to provide domestic workers.

Read: First 200 Cambodian maids due in Hong Kong in October

Read: Cambodian maids to debut in Hong Kong in September