, Hong Kong
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Hong Kong to shorten restaurant licensing compliance

Restaurants can now get a certification before an on-site check.

Hong Kong has extended the Professional Certification System (PCS) to include general restaurant license applications, shortening the licensing option.

The PCS was first introduced in March 2023 and only covered light refreshment restaurant and food factory license applicants. The expansion to cover general restaurant license applications will streamline the application procedures, shorten processing times and facilitate compliance with the licensing requirements.

According to the announcement by the Food & Environmental Hygiene Department, under the PCS, the department can accept a Certificate of Compliance and final layout plans provided by an authorised person or a registered structural engineer as certification for compliance with all health requirements for the issuance of a full licence.

After issuing a full licence, the department’s staff will conduct on-site audit checks to confirm the premises’ compliance with all health requirements.

If any information in the documents is found to be incorrect, false or misleading, or if the declaration made is found to be false after on-site audit checks, the department will carry out follow-up action. This may include instigating prosecution, cancellation of the licence issued or referring the case to other departments for follow-up.

Applicants can still however choose to obtain a full license traditionally by which is by first having a final on-site check by a department officer, or the PCS, which adopts a licence first, inspection later approach.

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