Work Permit No Longer Required for Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau Residents Working in Mainland China

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Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan residents no longer need to obtain a work permit to work in mainland China, a time-consuming process that required these residents to obtain several documents and had to be renewed on a two-year basis.

These changes reflect a government-led initiative to encourage Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan’s residents to work in mainland China and facilitate the bureaucratic procedures involved. HMT residents will now only need a residence permit to work in mainland China, as opposed to a work permit.

After the State Council’s circular related to the transition from work permits to resident permits for Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau residents, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (HRSS) instructed local branches to stop processing incoming applications for work permits to initiate the transition.

As of December 31, 2018, current work permits for HMT residents will no longer be valid. By ceasing to require an employment permit, living, working, and studying in mainland China is easier than before for HMT residents.

What is the work permit application process?

Starting on September 1, HMT residents can submit an application for a residence permit. The permits will generally be issued after 20 business days.

One of the following requirements must be met to be able to apply for a residence permit, including:
  • The applicant has to have lived in mainland China for at least six months
  • Has a stable job and residence in mainland China
  • Plans to continue studying in mainland China
The proper documentation must be provided along with the registration form. Necessary documents include:
  • Travel documents
  • Proof of legitimate residence
  • Proof of enrollment in an academic program

The residence permit has a longer validity period than the previous work permit, having to be renewed only after five years. Residence permits are issued on a county level by the local public security branches of the government, meaning that documentation requirements may differ from location to location.

HMT residents with a residence permit will be able to enjoy new privileges, such as the ability to seek employment without first having a work permit, the ability to apply for a driver’s license, and access to legal services such as the social insurance scheme and housing provident fund. Although these employees will still be barred from some benefits such as pension and healthcare, employees from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau will now be able to enjoy unemployment benefits.


It will now be easier for companies to hire employees from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau, encouraging these workers to seek employment in mainland China. With a residence permit, HMT residents can now work in mainland China and enjoy new privileges. HMT residents with a work permit should begin the process of obtaining a residence permit as soon as possible. The work permit that was previously issued for employment for HMT residents will expire before the end of the year.

The information contained in this article is valid on October 29th, 2018. For updated information, please contact us via email at