Cross-border employment between Hong Kong and Mainland China

The increasing economic and trade ties between Hong Kong and Mainland China have contributed to an increase in flow of talent in recent years. As of October 2017, the number of Hong Kong people habitually working in the Mainland is estimated to be 420,000, equivalent to 8% of Hong Kong’s work force. At the same time, there are around 268,000 Mainland Chinese working in Hong Kong on a long-term basis since January 2003 to October 2020.

Working outside your home jurisdiction can be as simple as doing business trips, as long as the nature and length of such trips are compatible with the location’s visa and tax requirements for the overseas location. Hong Kong offers visa-free entry for most foreigners for periods between 14 to 180 days, whereas Mainland Chinese may enter and stay in Hong Kong for up to 90 days for non-working-or studying purposes depending on the relevant endorsement on their Exit-entry Permit for Travelling to and from Hong Kong and Macau. On the other hand, Hong Kong residents with home return permits issued by the Mainland authorities are free to enter and stay for unlimited time periods.

When individuals seek long-term employments, whether in the case of direct local employment, being seconded between associated companies, or in the case of concurrent employments with two employers, entry permit and work visa/endorsement issues become more relevant. This article highlights the key issues for employers and employees need to know when assessing potential implications and planning employment arrangements between Hong Kong and Mainland China.

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