Most ethnic minorities struggle with job challenges while language and poverty pose additional tests

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More than 60% of the city’s ethnic minorities either lost their jobs or became underemployed during the fifth wave of Covid-19, according to a survey by social services group Unison.

After surveying 937 people who identify as ethnic minorities between March and April, it was revealed that 48.9% were unemployed while 14% were underemployed.

The group said the unemployment rate among ethnic minorities is 10 times that of the city’s general population.

In addition, more than 43% indicated that their children needed “Chinese language learning support” due to difficulties encountered while learning online.

Nearly 80% of families said they needed a device or internet connection to take online classes.

John Tse Wing-Ling, executive director of Unison, said: “The government needs to allocate more resources to ensure minority students have the equipment they need for online education.”

Many families also reported living in poverty and relying on their savings to support themselves. One respondent said, “We live on savings, but we don’t have savings anymore.

The many reports of poverty were alarming given that authorities spent more than HK$800 million in the 2019/20 financial year on initiatives to support minorities.

The group urged authorities to provide vocational training for minorities, adding that unemployment benefits could be introduced for those who have been made redundant.

He also cited poor Chinese language proficiency and low levels of education among minorities as factors that ultimately contribute to poverty and unemployment.

Therefore, the group highlighted the importance of improving e-learning resources and access to education for minorities.

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