On 6 November 2019, the Central Government promulgated 16 policy measures which would benefit Hong Kong people from all walks of life and facilitate the development of various sectors in the Greater Bay Area.

Benefiting the general public

  • Hong Kong residents to be treated as local residents in purchasing properties in the Mainland cities of the Greater Bay Area;
  • supporting the use of mobile electronic payment by Hong Kong residents on the Mainland;
  • pilot scheme for Hong Kong residents to open Mainland personal bank accounts in the Greater Bay Area remotely by attestation;
  • ensuring that the children of Hong Kong and Macao residents working in Guangdong enjoy the same education as those of Mainland residents;
  • exploring the establishment of a cross-boundary wealth management scheme;
  • foreigners holding Hong Kong Permanent Identity Cards to be able to apply to the relevant Mainland authorities for a visa or permission for residence with a validity of up to two to five years to stay or reside in Mainland cities in the Greater Bay Area;
  • permitting the use of Hong Kong-registered drugs and common medical devices in designated Hong Kong-owned healthcare institutions in the Greater Bay Area.

Supporting professional services

  • relaxation on partnership associations by Hong Kong and Mainland law firms, employment of Hong Kong legal consultants and practice of Hong Kong legal practitioners in the Mainland cities of the Greater Bay Area;
  • further extending the scope of mutual recognition of qualifications for construction professionals;
  • expanding the scope of liberalisation measures for construction professionals from Hong Kong and Macao to practise on the Mainland;
  • preferential treatment on insurance regulation;
  • removing the requirement on years of operating experience for Hong Kong service suppliers to provide insurance loss adjusting services on the Mainland;
  • supporting Mainland insurers to issue catastrophe bonds in Hong Kong and Macao by relaxing the requirements for establishing special purpose insurers.

Innovation and Technology

  • supporting the development of the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Co-operation Zone;
  • facilitating customs clearance of imported animal-derived biomaterials; and
  • relaxing the limitation on exporting Mainland human genetic resources to Hong Kong and Macao.

The Central Government promulgated eight policy measures for taking forward the development of the Greater Bay Area on 1 March 2019 to facilitate Hong Kong residents to develop, work and reside in the Mainland cities of the Greater Bay Area, as well as strengthen the convenient flow of people and goods within the Greater Bay Area.

Eight Policy Measures

  • On the method for calculating “183 days” for paying individual income tax on the Mainland: any stay of less than 24 hours on the Mainland will not count as a day of presence;
  • providing tax relief by municipal governments to non-Mainland (including Hong Kong) high-end talents and talents in short supply by offsetting the tax differential between the two places; the actual individual income tax rate is 15% with effective from 1 January 2019 and on trial for one year;
  • supporting the open recruitment of Hong Kong and Macao residents by public institutions in the Greater Bay Area;
  • encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship in the nine Mainland cities of the Greater Bay Area by the youth of Hong Kong and Macao;
  • supporting higher education institutions and scientific research institutes from Hong Kong and Macao to participate in projects under Guangdong technology programmes;
  • introducing immigration facilitation reform pilots schemes in the Greater Bay Area;
  • facilitating vehicles from Hong Kong and Macao entering and exiting Mainland ports; and
  • expanding the implementation scope of the connection with the Speedy Customs Clearance between Customs administrations.

Other major facilitation policies and measures announced since August 2017 include:

Study

  • It is specified in clear terms that to protect the rights and interests of Hong Kong and Macao students, Mainland higher education institutions and relevant authorities must accord equal treatment for Hong Kong and Macao students in admission, nurture, management and supporting services;
  • Mainland higher education institutions should facilitate Hong Kong and Macao students’ job search and employment and issue Employment Agreements and Employment Registration Certificates to them upon their graduation;
  • Both the quota and amount of scholarships open to Hong Kong and Macao students as well as overseas Chinese students studying at Mainland higher education institutions have been increased;
  • The Guangzhou Municipal Education Bureau has approved the Guangdong Overseas Chinese High School to enrol children of Hong Kong and Macao;
  • The Education Bureau of Yuexiu District of Guangzhou in April 2019 accepted, on trial for one year, children of eligible Hong Kong and Macao residents with residence permit to apply for admission to Yuexiu District primary school first grade or high school first grade; and
  • Children of eligible Hong Kong residents may enjoy the same education arrangement as local students in Huizhou starting 1 January 2020. The arrangement is valid for five years.

Start-up / Business / Work

  • Starting from 1 January 2019, an individual who has no domicile and has resided in the Mainland for an annual aggregate of 183 days or more for less than six consecutive years, shall, upon filing records with the relevant tax authorities, not be required to pay individual income tax with respect to his/her income derived from sources outside the Mainland and paid by institutions or individuals outside the Mainland. If an individual has resided in the Mainland for an annual aggregate of 183 days or more but during which there is a single absence from the Mainland for more than 30 days, the continuous years of residence in the Mainland with an annual aggregate of 183 days or more shall be recounted;
  • The requirement for the people of Hong Kong and Macao to apply for employment permits for working in the Mainland has been removed;
  • Hong Kong and Macao people working in the Mainland 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/Macao leaving the Mainland to relocate back to Hong Kong/Macao will be allowed to withdraw any remaining balance in their Housing Provident Fund accounts, thereby facilitating them to plan for the longer term and achieve personal goals;
  • Eligible Hong Kong and Macao residents can take part in the qualification accreditation examinations for primary and secondary school teachers;
  • Eligible Hong Kong and Macao tour guides and tour escorts may work in Hengqin New District; and
  • The introduction of a host of talent schemes and youth development plans to facilitate Hong Kong people’s development in the Greater Bay Area.

Daily Living

  • Hong Kong residents living in the Mainland who meet the relevant criteria can apply for residence permits. A residence permit holder is entitled to enjoy, in accordance with the law, three categories of rights, six basic public services and nine facilitation measures in the place where he or she is residing. This covers areas relating to daily living including employment, education, medical care, travel, financial services, etc.;
  • The People’s Government of Shenzhen Municipality announced on 21 August 2019 the expansion in the scope of facilitation measures for senior citizens who have reached the age of 60. Hong Kong and Macao residents living in Shenzhen who are holders of residence permit are also eligible. Shenzhen is the sixth Greater Bay Area mainland city after Dongguan, Huizhou, Zhuhai, Foshan and Jiangmen to offer free public transports to Hong Kong senior citizens;
  • The interim measures announced on 29 November 2019 stipulated rules for Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan residents working, doing business, living or studying in the Mainland to join the local social insurance scheme. The interim measures will take effect on 1 January 2020; and
  • The China Railway Corporation has installed automatic ticket vending and issuing machines to read and verify Home Visit Re-entry Permits at train stations of various provinces and cities with relatively large demand for ticketing services from Hong Kong people. This can reduce the amount of time otherwise spent on queuing over the counter.

(Source: https://www.bayarea.gov.hk/en/facilitation/measures.html)

In view of the above facilitation measures, how to choose a particular mainland city to develop your business? What are those policies closely related to your own interests? Are you eligible to apply for government subsidies and preferential policies? How to set up a corporate structure in mainland China? How to make appropriate individual and corporate tax planning?

If you have any enquiry mentioned above, please contact us at any time. Our professional teams from all three jurisdictions will assist you in your own tailor-made development plan.

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