Hongkongers living on the mainland will be able to apply for Chinese residence permits starting in September. The permits will allow them to access public services enjoyed by mainland citizens.
Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan residents who have been living, working or studying on the mainland for over six months – and who possess permits – can apply for the new permit from their local public security authority.
Holders of the new permit can be employed on the mainland, participate in social security schemes, as well as access the Housing Provident Fund.
They will enjoy free education, basic public employment services, basic public hygiene services, public cultural and sports services, legal assistance and other legal services, as well as other basic public services provided by the country and place of residence.
They will also enjoy nine other convenience measures such as the ability to open mainland bank accounts, buy train tickets online, and apply for driving licences and professional qualification examinations.
The new permits can be applied for with a valid travel document and proof of address, as well as proof of employment or schooling. They will be issued within 20 working days.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam thanked the central government for announcing the “groundbreaking” new scheme requested by Hong Kong groups and residents for a long time.
Lam said government figures showed that 520,000 Hong Kong people live in neighbouring Guangdong Province, and more than 15,000 university students study in the mainland.
“I believe it shows the central government’s care – especially that from President Xi – for Hong Kong people. It is a very good opportunity for pushing forward the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area in the future,” she said.