Hong Kong residents travelling to and from Mainland are subject to the "Interim Measures for the Control of Chinese Residents Travelling on Private Business to or from Hong Kong or Macao" (《中國公民因私事往來香港地區或者澳門地區的暫行管理辦法》) (Simplified Chinese only) (hereinafter the "Interim Measures") administered by the Ministry of Public Security. In accordance with the "Interim Measures", Hong Kong residents are required to apply for the "Mainland Travel Permit for Hong Kong and Macao Resident" issued by the National Immigration Administration for their entry to and staying in the Mainland.
According to its circular released on 3 Aug 2018, the State Council has decided to cancel a series of administrative approval items, including employment permits for residents from Hong Kong, Macao special administrative regions and Taiwan. Hong Kong residents can enjoy further convenience in working or starting business in the Mainland. For more information, please refer to "Decision of the State Council to Cancel a Group of Administrative Licensing Items and Other Items" (《國務院關於取消一批行政許可等事項的決定》) (Simplified Chinese only).
On 23 August 2018, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of the People's Republic of China announced that Hong Kong residents working in the Mainland are no longer required to apply for work permits. They can use their "Residence Permit for Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan Residents" or the "Mainland Travel Permit for Hong Kong and Macao Resident" etc. as valid identity documents for matters relating to human resources and social security. The business licenses, employment contracts, payroll records or social insurance payment records can also be used as proof of employment in the Mainland. They entitle the same labour rights and protections accorded to Mainland residents. For more details, please refer to "Notice of Human Resources and Social Security on Matters concerning the Employment of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan Residents in the Chinese Mainland" (《關於香港澳門臺灣居民在內地（大陸）就業有關事項的通知》) (Simplified Chinese only).
Generally speaking, if a Hong Kong resident enters into an employment contract in Hong Kong with a Hong Kong employer, and is deployed to work in the Mainland, he still comes under the protection of the "Employment Ordinance" notwithstanding that the workplace is in the Mainland. When an employment contract is signed, attention should be paid to whether the contract will be governed by laws and regulations of Hong Kong, Mainland or any other countries.
Labour laws and regulations of the Mainland provide protection to employees who are employed by companies registered in the Mainland or who sign the employment contract with the employer in the Mainland. The "Labour Contract Law of the People's Republic of China" (《中華人民共和國勞動合同法》) (Simplified Chinese only) ("Employment Law") and "The Decision on Amendment Relating to Employment Law" (關於修改《中華人民共和國勞動合同法》的決定) (Simplified Chinese only) provides concrete rules for employers and employees in the formation, execution, revision, dissolution or termination of employer-employee relationship in Mainland. Under the Employment Law, employers are required to enter with their employees into written employment contracts which specify the rights and obligations of the parties and protect the lawful rights of employees.
To protect your own rights and interests, Hong Kong residents should study the terms and conditions carefully when signing an employment contract for working in the Mainland, including:-
- Duration of contract;
- Probation period;
- Scope and place of work;
- Composition of wages and computation method, payment method and due date;
- Bonus system (if applicable);
- Wage rate, overtime payment and other living subsidy (if applicable);
- Working hours and holidays;
- Termination of contract;
- Meal arrangement;
- Accommodation arrangement or rent subsidy;
- Medical insurance;
- Employees' compensation and related arrangement;
- Travelling expenses between Hong Kong and workplace;
- Annual leave and rest days; and
- Daily transport arrangement.
Apart from the above, the contract should state clearly the governing jurisdiction applicable to your employment contract. This ensures that you may seek assistance from the respective authorities of the governing jurisdiction, for settlement of dispute and protection of rights of both parties. Before signing a contract, one must ascertain whether he is engaged as an employee, an independent contractor or a self-employed person. If one is engaged as an independent contractor or a self-employed person, he may not be entitled to the rights and benefits under the "Employment Ordinance". Please refer to the leaflet "Clarify Your Employment Status Protect Your Rights and Benefits" (For text-only version, please click here) for more details. If he comes across questions of employee's rights and benefits, he may seek advice from the Labour Relations Division of the Labour Department.
Job seekers may refer to the following law of the People's Republic of China:
- "Labour Law of the People's Republic of China" (《中華人民共和國勞動法》) (Simplified Chinese Only)
The Labour Law of the Peoples' Republic of China provides protection to employees regarding hours of work, holiday and payment of wages, etc.
- "Law of the People's Republic of China on Labor-dispute Mediation and Arbitration" (《中華人民共和國勞動爭議調解仲裁法》) (Simplified Chinese Only)
The Law of the People's Republic of China on Labor-dispute Mediation and Arbitration specifies the principles, format, participating parties, and time frame in the negotiation over labour disputes between employers and employees, and the binding power of settlement agreements. The law protects the lawful rights of the parties concerned and promotes harmonious and stable labour relations.
- Regulations on Wage Payment
The "Interim measures on wage payment" (《工資支付暫行規定》) (Simplified Chinese only) and the "Supplementary regulations of The "Interim measures on wage payment" (《對〈工資支付暫行規定有關問題〉的補充規定》) (Simplified Chinese only) set out the details of aspects such as the forms of wage payment, time limit for wage payment, calculation of overtime payment and wage deduction restrictions in the Mainland.
- Holidays and Festivals
"Decision on Amending the Regulation on Public Holidays for National Annual Festivals and Memorial Days" (關於修改《全國年節及紀念日放假辦法》的決定) (Simplified Chinese only) specifies the holidays and festivals in the Mainland China.
As the laws and regulations among provinces or cities may vary, job seekers may also refer to "China's Employment" website (「中國就業」) (Simplified Chinese only) for details.
Pursuant to Section 30B(2) of the "Employees' Compensation Ordinance", Chapter 282, employees who are injured while working outside Hong Kong are also covered if they are employed in Hong Kong by local employers.
"Regulation on Work-Related Injury Insurances" is formulated to guarantee the provision of medical treatment and monetary compensation to employees sustaining from injuries at work or contracting occupational disease, to promote prevention of work-related injury and vocational rehabilitation. The Regulation sets out the definition, compensation, etc. for work-related injury. For details of the Regulation on Work-Related Injury Insurances, please refer to the "Policies and Regulations” section of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of the People's Republic of China" website (「中華人民共和國人力資源和社會保障部」) (Simplified Chinese only).
Pursuant to the "PRC Individual Income Tax Law" (《中華人民共和國個人所得稅法》) (Simplified Chinese only) and relevant regulations, Hong Kong residents are required to pay individual income tax for wages and salaries earned during their employment in the Mainland.
The National People's Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) announced the "Amendment on the Individual Income Tax Law" (修改《中華人民共和國個人所得稅法》的決定) (Simplified Chinese only) on 31 August 2018. For any individual who has a domicile within the territory of China or who has no domicile but has stayed in the territory of China for 183 days or longer cumulatively within a tax year, they are "Tax Residents". "Tax residents" are subject to Chinese Individual Income Tax on income derived from China and overseas (worldwide income). For any individual who has no domicile and does not stay within the territory of China or who has no domicile but has stayed within the territory of China for less than 183 days cumulatively within a tax year, they are "Non-tax Residents". "Non-tax Residents" are subject to Chinese Individual Income Tax only on income derived from China.
In accordance with the "Public Notice, clarifying the criteria for determining days of residence of individuals without domicile within the Mainland China" (《關於在中國境內無住所的個人居住時間判定標準的公告》) (Simplified Chinese only) released by the Ministry of Finance of the People's Republic of China and the State Administration of Taxation on 14 March 2019, if an individual without domicile stays in the territory of China for less than 183 days any one year in the preceding six consecutive years or leaves the territory of China for more than 30 days in one occasion, the income derived from overseas will be exempted from Chinese Individual Income Tax.
For more information about the PRC-Hong Kong Tax Arrangement, please visit the website of the State Administration of Taxation and the "Double Taxation Relief" section in the Hong Kong Inland Revenue Department website.
Hong Kong residents should take into consideration whether an employer will provide accommodation or rental subsidy including "Housing Provident Fund", and should also try to find out more about the environment, transportation and security condition of the surrounding area of the accommodation.
Some large-scale enterprises in the Mainland provide quarters to employees. As the living environment and conditions of quarters vary according to individual employers, job seekers are advised to obtain details from their prospective employers in advance. If quarters are not provided, job seekers may need to make arrangements themselves. In renting a flat, an advance payment of deposit are often required. They should also make clear whether the rental will cover electricity bill and maintenance fee etc. Job seekers may visit websites of property agencies in the Mainland for more information of rental charges.
In November 2017, the relevant Central Government departments formulated the "Opinions on Issues concerning the Enjoyment of Housing Provident Fund Treatment by Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan Compatriots Working in the Mainland"(《關於在內地（大陸）就業的港澳台同胞享有住房公積金待遇有關問題的意見》) (Simplified Chinese only). Under the policy, the people of Hong Kong working in the Mainland may contribute to housing provident funds in accordance with the "Regulation on the Management of Housing Provident Fund"(《住房公積金管理條例》) (Simplified Chinese only) and relevant policies. They can join the Housing Provident Fund and enjoy the same treatment accorded to Mainland residents in terms of base deposit, deposit ratio, processing procedures, as well as the drawing of money from the Housing Provident Fund, and the application for personal housing loans under the Housing Provident Fund, etc. People from Hong Kong leaving the Mainland to relocate back to Hong Kong will be allowed to withdraw any remaining balance in their Housing Provident Fund accounts.
Hong Kong residents working in the Mainland should enroll in social security scheme (including pension, unemployment insurance, medical insurance, work related injury insurance and maternity insurance) and contribute payment in accordance with the "Social Insurance Law" (《社會保險法》) (Simplified Chinese only), "the Interim Regulations on the Collection and Payment of Social Security Premiums" (《社會保險費徵繳暫行條例》) (Simplified Chinese only), "Interim Measures for Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan Residents to Participate in Social Insurance Scheme in the Mainland" in effect from 1 January 2020 and relevant regulations of the region where they are employed. Meanwhile, Hong Kong residents who have participated in MPF schemes may apply for exemption from participating in basic pension insurance and unemployment insurance in the Mainland with MPF statements.
The three basic principles concerning the enrollment of social security scheme for Hong Kong residents working in the mainland are:
- Hong Kong residents, who are employed in the Mainland and have signed an employment contract with an employer, should enroll in the social security scheme of the region where the employer is located;
- Hong Kong residents who run businesses in the Mainland as proprietors should make social security contribution for their employees; and
- Hong Kong residents who have established employment relationship with foreign employers or employers in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan and are deployed to the Mainland may not need to enroll in social security scheme if they have not entered into any employment contract with employers in the Mainland.
Details of implementation of the above rules may vary from region to region. Hong Kong residents working in the Mainland should know their social security status and contributions made, pay close attention to the latest announced regulations and policies, and ensure that the relevant requirements are complied with.
Hong Kong residents may consider taking out additional commercial insurance policies (e.g. property, life, accident and medical insurance) to suit their individual needs if they find the protection provided by their employment contracts inadequate.
Hong Kong and Mainland medical services differ in many aspects, including medical regulations, system and flow of services, etc. Hong Kong residents should pay attention to the services provided by different hospitals and choose the hospital according to their own requirements and medical needs.
Healthcare system in the Mainland mainly consists of public and private hospitals. Some hospitals may require payment of deposits before services are provided. To cater for emergency needs, it is highly recommended that medical insurance policies that cover medical expenses in the Mainland be taken out. Information on medical insurance policies and their coverage may be obtained from major insurers, banks and agents.
Some Mainland hospitals accept electronic payment (credit cards, UnionPay, etc.) but some medical expenses must be paid in cash. Patients should consult the hospital concerned for actual arrangements. Patients are advised to bring sufficient cash or membership card issued by insurance company or medical insurance provider when seeking medical treatment. They are also advised to confirm if their medical insurance card will be accepted beforehand.
Besides, only a few hospitals jointly owned by local and foreign investors and/or international medical department of public hospitals accept clearance of medical expenses by medical insurance schemes taken outside the Mainland. Hong Kong residents are required to submit payment receipts to their insurers for reimbursement of medical expenses if the hospitals do not accept direct settlement of medical bills by insurance schemes.
A system of obligatory foundation education of nine years has been implemented in the Mainland. It comprises of six years' primary schooling and three years' junior secondary schooling. Full-time schooling is the general practice. Upon the completion of the nine-year foundation education, school children have to sit an examination for junior secondary students. In accordance with their choices and the results they have attained in the examination, successful graduates would be admitted to a three-year high schooling. In the Mainland, high schools can be broadly classified into general high schools and vocational and technical education.
Upon the completion of three-year high school education, students who have got good grades in the examination for high schools may continue their tertiary education. Tertiary education takes the form of undergraduate and advanced vocational studies respectively. Undergraduate studies last for four or five years, whereas advanced vocational studies generally last for three years, and graduates are granted diploma upon completion.
Apart from schools that are run by the State, there are schools run by private institutions and educational groups. Compared with State-run schools, privately run schools charge higher fees, and adopt more flexible teaching approaches. It is necessary to check if such schools are properly registered, and that the qualification so awarded is recognized by the State authority. In major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hangzhou, one can even find international schools established especially for foreigners.
For Hong Kong people who work in the Mainland and having the need to arrange their children to receive education there, they should consider their long-term education needs, apart from the curriculum and rules and practices in allocating school places in the Mainland. If parents are temporarily working in the Mainland, they have to consider the issues of adaptation and curriculum conversion when their children return to Hong Kong or go to other places for their studies. In view of these factors, some Hong Kong people will send their children to international schools, so that they will be able to adapt to the new learning environment or curriculum more easily if their parents move again in the future. Relevant information may be found in the "Practical Guide for Hong Kong Residents living in the Mainland" published by respective HKSARG offices (《港人內地生活小百科》) (Chinese only).
The transportation system in the Mainland is sophisticated. Major cities are connected by highways, trains, and high-speed rail. Aviation transport is well developed in the Mainland with flights available among major cities. It is advisable to purchase air tickets through reliable agencies. Underground railway services are available in many big cities. It is a convenient means to get to major places in the cities. Major locations in cities are accessible by public buses and taxis.
Hong Kong residents must possess a "Motor Vehicle Driving Permit" (similar to a Driving Licence in Hong Kong) in order to be qualified for driving in the Mainland. The permit is issued by vehicle management authorities under the public security authorities. The application procedures may differ in different provinces or cities. Those who want to apply for a driving permit should enquire about the details with the relevant public security office.
Hong Kong people may consider applying for mainland driving licence through some authorized driving schools in Hong Kong. On insurance matter, they may approach insurance companies for information.