ECONOMY | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Beijing to launch smart cards for Mainland-based Hong Kongers in GBA push

Cardholders will enjoy same access to public services as Mainland counterparts.

Nearly half a million Hong Kongers who have been workin, living or studying in the Mainland for over six months are set to receive identity cards that will grant them wider access to social and public services in the Mainland, reports South China Morning Post. 

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Eligible residents from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan could start applying for the new smart card by September to be able to enjoy the same access to employment, social insurance and housing fund schemes as their counterparts in the Mainland.

Services including free primary and junior secondary education, basic medical care and legal aid, vehicle registration, driver’s license application, domestic flights and trains are also set to benefit from the smart card.

“The [aim] is to make Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan residents able to enjoy public services and facilities in ways basically the same as mainland residents in their places of abode,” said Shi Jun, vice-minister of public security.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam also hailed the move as this will support around 520,000 Hong Kongers residing in Guangdong and more than 15,000 Hong Kong students in Mainland universities.

The card requirements include the submission of a valid travel document, proof of residence and evidence of employment or school enrolment amongst others. 

However, the new ID card is not a travel document and Hong Kongers will still have to use their home return permit to cross the border.

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