HK, Macao Welcome New Travel Policy for Expats

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The Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions (SARs) have warmly embraced the national policy that allows non-Chinese permanent residents in the two cities to enter the Chinese mainland with a card-like document effective from July 10.

Announced by the nation's Exit and Entry Administration on Monday, coinciding with the 27th anniversary of Hong Kong SAR's establishment, the policy signifies a milestone in facilitating cross-border travel.

This document will permit non-Chinese permanent residents in Hong Kong and Macao to make multiple trips to and from the mainland during its five-year validity period, with each stay not exceeding 90 days. It eliminates the need for repeated travel endorsements, streamlining the process.

Moreover, cardholders will enjoy self-service clearance, significantly improving efficiency. However, if non-Chinese holders intend to work, study, or engage in journalistic activities on the mainland, they must apply for visas or residence permits as per the law.

Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu expressed gratitude for the central government's support, noting that many non-Chinese Hong Kong permanent residents have deep familial ties in the SAR and have contributed significantly to the city's growth. Foreign professionals in Hong Kong are keen to capitalize on the historical opportunities arising from China's rapid economic development and play a more active role in transforming the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area into a global powerhouse.

Lee highlighted that the policy is not restricted to any nationality or profession, reflecting Hong Kong's unique status under the principle of 'one country, two systems'. It will greatly aid the city in maintaining its international character and diversity, serving as a substantial incentive for global companies and professionals to establish themselves in Hong Kong. 

Macao's Chief Executive Ho Iat-seng  believes the new measure will assist Macao in attracting overseas talent and reinforce its position as a world-class tourism and leisure hub, creating more favorable conditions for Macao's economic advancement.

The central government has rolled out a series of measures since early last year to facilitate talent exchanges between Hong Kong and the mainland. Since May 6, mainland residents traveling to Hong Kong for business visits can stay for up to 14 days with an exit endorsement.