The recent outbreak of COVID-19 has severely disrupted our daily lives and business operations. As of 19 July 2020, the total confirmed cases in Hong Kong has reached over 1,800. To minimize transmission of imported cases, a mandatory 14-day quarantine for persons entering Hong Kong was implemented on 8 February 2020. Under the travel restrictions, multinational companies requiring routine travelling have been forced to suspend business trips, changing their work patterns.
Recently, the Government of Hong Kong SAR announced that Hong Kong enterprises with manufacturing operations in the Mainland can apply for exemption from the compulsory quarantine arrangement. Under the amended section 4(1)(b) of Cap. 599C, the Chief Secretary for Administration has exempted the following category of persons from the compulsory quarantine arrangement with effect from 4 May 2020 –
(a) either the owner of a Hong Kong enterprise with a valid business registration certificate issued under the Business Registration Ordinance (Cap. 310) and with manufacturing operations in the Mainland, and up to one personnel employed and so authorized by the enterprise; or
(b) up to two personnel employed and so authorized by such an enterprise as described in (a).
Upon successful application, the exempted person may travel to and stay in the city where the Mainland factory of the enterprise’s manufacturing operations is located, for supporting the operation and business of the factory. When returning to Hong Kong, the person is exempted from the 14-day quarantine, but will be subjected to medical surveillance arranged by the Department of Health during his/her stay in Hong Kong, and will be required to wear masks and check body temperature daily, as well as to report to the Department of Health on any discomfort.
The above arrangement would allow flexibility for Hong Kong companies to send personnel to designated Chinese cities and support their manufacturing operations. The personnel are not subject to mandatory quarantine in Hong Kong when they return from their business trip. However, they may still be subject to local quarantine requirements in mainland China when they travel outbound from Hong Kong.
What CW can do for you:
CW can assist our clients with the application of the above-mentioned exemption including
- analyzing the application criteria, and
- preparing and submitting the application.
Written by Toby Wong, China Consultancy Team, CW CPA