What is the change? Authorities in mainland China will soon begin issuing new residence permits to residents of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.

What does the change mean? The permits will allow residents of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan to live, work and study in mainland China without having to obtain any other separate authorization. They will be valid for five years and will become available Sept. 1.

  • Implementation time frame: Sept. 1.
  • Visas/permits affected: Resident permits for residents of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.
  • Who is affected: Residents of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan who are planning to live, work or study in mainland China.
  • Impact on processing times: Permits will generally be issued within 20 business days, though slight delays are possible in geographically remote areas.
  • Next steps: Applications may be submitted beginning Sept. 1. Shanghai has set up 25 centers for accepting residence permit applications, but processes for submitting applications may vary from province to province. Residents of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan who hold a valid work permit issued in mainland China may continue working on their work permit until Dec. 31. After that, however, work permits will no longer be valid.

Background: The State Council announced on Aug. 3 that it would stop issuing work permits to residents of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. Authorities subsequently stopped accepting work permit applications and issued new regulations on the issuance of residence permits for these residents beginning Sept. 1.

Residence permit applicants will be required to complete a form and provide provincial authorities documentation confirming their proof of residence, employment or schooling. Documentation establishing residence in mainland China may include housing lease contracts, property certificates or purchase contracts. Documents establishing employment may include business licenses, labor contracts or labor relations certificates, while students will be asked to provide proof of attendance such as a student ID card or other materials that can establish continuous schooling.

Residence permits, which will be valid for five years, will be available to residents of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan who intend to stay in mainland China for more than six months.

BAL Analysis: The process for obtaining the new residence permits is expected to be significantly easier than obtaining work or study permits. The issuance of residence permits will mean, among other things, that workers from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan will be fully protected under Chinese labor and contract law. Employers will likely see increased costs related to social insurance and housing fund contributions. Those with questions about how the new residence permit process will work should contact BAL.

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