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CHINA – Optional Mainland Residence Card Introduced for Residents of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan

, 06/09/2018

As we reported in August, the Chinese government has abolished the work permit requirement for residents of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan ("HMT residents").

Effective 1 September 2018, HMT residents can voluntarily apply for a new mainland residence card.

Abolition of Work Permit Requirement

On 28 July 2018, the Chinese government announced that, with immediate effect, HMT residents no longer require a work permit to work in mainland China.
Effective 23 August 2018, the Human Resource and Social Security Bureau in Shanghai ceased processing pending work permit applications following the enforcement of this new policy in many other cities.
Existing work permits held by HMT residents will continue to be valid until 31 December 2018.
HMT nationals must still complete temporary residence registration within 24 hours of arrival in mainland China.

Residence Card

According to a new regulation (“??????????????“) published 19 August 2018 and effective 1 September 2018, HMT residents can voluntarily apply for a residence card if they are resident in mainland China for at least six months and:

have legal and stable employment; or
have a legal and stable residence; or
are engaged in continuous study.

The residence card application must be made to the local Public Security Bureau. Residence cards, valid for five years, are expected to be issued within 20 days.

The new residence card will give the holder access to mainland social security and housing schemes and basic public services.

Action Items

Employers who may be affected by this change are advised to consult an immigration specialist for the latest implementation details.