Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Hong Kong, Macau business visa length doubled to 2 weeks per trip for mainlanders

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Mainland Chinese holders of business visas for Hong Kong and Macau will be allowed to stay in both cities for an extra week from next month, with authorities expecting 100 million companies to benefit.

The change was among a range of measures announced by the mainland’s National Immigration Administration on Sunday to address the growing needs of cross-border firms and improve the business environment of the Greater Bay Area.

A host of measures were announced, taking effect on May 6, but the one expected to benefit the most mainlanders was the extension to the period of stay for business visa holders to Hong Kong and Macau. The maximum seven-day period per trip will be doubled to 14 days.

The authority’s deputy head of the entry-exit administrative department, Wang Ling, said the policy change was set to benefit 100 million individually owned firms, as well as staff from 30,000 companies who registered for multiple business visas.

“We hope to better meet the needs of longer periods of business activities, help business personnel to explore business opportunities extensively and undergo negotiations in a more in-depth manner,” she said in a press conference on Sunday.

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Instead of applying through local offices where an applicant lives, mainlanders will soon be able to submit applications for one-off entry business visas at designated counters of 3,400 institutions managed by public security branches across the country.

They can also apply for multiple-entry visas through “smart visa facilities” from May 6 at those sites.

Authorities also announced that a visa scheme for mainland talent that was launched in February last year would be expanded to cover not only residents in the nine Guangdong province cities in the bay area, but also those in Beijing and Shanghai.

As of mid-April, the city had welcomed more than 18,000 arrivals under the pilot scheme, according to the Hong Kong government.

Under the scheme, talent in six fields including scientific research, education, healthcare, law and business are able to apply for multi‑entry visas ranging from one to five years in length for stays in Hong Kong and Macau of up to 30 days each time.

The bay area is Beijing’s plan to integrate Hong Kong, Macau and nine mainland cities in the southern Guangdong province into an economic powerhouse.

The Hong Kong government welcomed the measures, saying they would facilitate the city’s further integration into national development and achieve concrete results in improving the “southbound and northbound” flow of talent.

“[We] will continue to maintain close liaison with the mainland authorities, with a view to further promoting the connection and exchanges of talents between the mainland and Hong Kong, and creating stronger impetus of growth for Hong Kong and the entire [bay area],” a government spokesman said.

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