Three associations representing Macau’s physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists urged the government Sunday at a press conference to consult the sector before beginning to import up to 40 non-locals to work in the three professions in the second half of the year.
Representatives of the Macau Physical Therapists Association (MPTA), Macau Occupational Therapists Association (MOTA) and the Macau Association of Speech Therapists said that they would prefer the government to give priority to locals who graduate from related academic programmes run by universities abroad.
The press conference was held at the MPTA premises.
MPTA Chairman Steven Chan Cheong Kin said the three associations were shocked by the recent announcement by the Social Welfare Bureau (IAS). He said the three groups had never been consulted by the bureau on the number of non-locals it plans to hire. He urged the bureau to provide more details.
He said that there were about 30 therapists who will possibly return to Macau – mostly after graduating in Hong Kong or Taiwan – this year for work. According to The Macau Post Daily, he also said that the number of therapy students returning to Macau after graduating abroad would possibly reach 110 by 2017.
Chan said that many of the students had enquired about the bureau’s announcement on hiring non-locals, worrying it may affect their job prospects in Macau. “We have requested a discussion with the bureau on its rationale behind importing non-locals,” said Chan. “… We are not completely opposed to it, we just need to have a dialogue to let the government know about the current situation regarding [the number of local] students pursuing the three majors and their job prospects.”
The physical therapist also said that importing non-locals would involve licensing and qualification recognition issues. He said the government should provide incentives for school leavers to study occupational, physical or speech therapy with scholarships as an option. Chan also said that local demand for the three professions will rise since the government plans to set up new rehabilitation centres in public housing estates in the next few years.(macaunews)