Education minister Christine Choi said on Monday that there are practical difficulties with importing students from the mainland or South East Asia, amid a drop in local student numbers.
Lawmaker Tang Fei of the Federation of Education Workers made the proposal over the weekend, saying pupils from outside Hong Kong should be fully sponsored and they may first take up places in private or directly-subsidised schools.
Choi said the public is divided on the matter, and there needs to be more public discussion before a consensus can be reached.
"There are actual difficulties about this that need to be considered, including support measures like housing and providing hostels for them. Besides, these students are young, they need to be cared for," she told reporters after attending a Legislative Council meeting.
While secondary school headmasters have called for a freeze in class numbers and smaller class sizes in response to the dwindling pupil numbers, Choi said the move could affect students' quality of learning.
The education chief stressed that the senior secondary school curriculum requires a minimum number of students before schools can start elective subject classes, so as to cater for their different learning needs.