China Revokes Work Permits for Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau Residents


As of this August, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council approved a change in government policy allowing residents of Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan (HMT residents) to work in mainland China without obtaining work permits and may now apply for residence permits.

Work Permits

These changes are part of a government effort to facilitate the life, work, and study of HMT residents and further secure their rights and interests in mainland China. Previously, HMT residents were required to obtain work permits before working in mainland China.

However, after the State Council’s circular concerning the transition from work permits to resident permits for HMT residents, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (HRSS) instructed local HRSSs in cities throughout the mainland to completely cease the processing of employment permit applications for HMT residents and gradually initiate this transition.

Current work permits for HMT residents will no longer be valid as of December 31, 2018. These measures are intended to make residing, working, and living in mainland China more convenient for HMT residents by abolishing the need to apply for an employment permit.


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How is the work permits application process?

Applications for resident permits have begun to be processed as early as September 1 and permits will typically be issued within 20 business days.

One may apply for a resident permit provided the individual has lived in the mainland for a minimum of six months, has a stable job, has a legitimate and stable residence, and/or plans to continue attending school in mainland China. A HMT resident must complete the registration forms for HMT residents and provide the proper documentation, including travel documents, proof of residence, and proof of academic enrollment.

Residence permits are valid for five years and are issued on a county level by public security branches of the government and so documentation requirements may vary among different locations in mainland China.

HMT residents who obtain mainland residence permits are entitled to similar rights and services as mainland residents. These privileges include the ability to directly seek employment without obtaining work permits, access to conveniences in the mainland, such as a driver’s license, and access to basic public services, such as legal services, the housing provident fund, the social insurance scheme, and additional services in the local area.

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A residence permit will now suffice for current HMT residents looking to work in the Chinese market and those currently with work permits will need to make the transition before their permit expires at the end of the year. Employers and HMT residents should continue to monitor these changes as they gradually develop in the coming months.

The information contained in this article is valid on October 12th, 2018. For updated information, please contact us via email at

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