The Government has launched the Greater Bay Area Youth Employment Scheme (Scheme), one of the measures announced during the Chief Executive’s 2020 Policy Address to create employment opportunities for university graduates. The Scheme provides 2,000 places, with approximately 700 designated for innovation and technology (I&T) posts. Enterprises participating in the Scheme can apply for a monthly allowance for each eligible graduate.

The Scheme’s key features are as follows:

  1. Eligible enterprises: Enterprises with operations and valid business registration certificates in Hong Kong and Greater Bay Area (GBA) Mainland cities may join the Scheme as employers to offer job vacancies to eligible graduates.
  2. Eligible graduates: Graduates must be Hong Kong residents and holders of bachelor's degrees or above awarded from 2019 to 2021. The graduates must be employed by the enterprises after the commencement of the Scheme.
  3. Amount of allowance: HK$10,000 per month to the participating enterprises for each graduate engaged. The allowance is granted on a first-come, first-served basis.
  4. Duration: 18 months or until the first quarter of 2023 (whichever is earlier).
  5. Key conditions of employment:
    • The employment contract must be governed by Hong Kong law;
    • The graduates must start employment on or before 31 August 2021;
    • Each graduate’s monthly salary must not be less than HK$18,000; and
    • For general posts, graduates must be stationed in a GBA Mainland city for employment. For I&T posts, graduates must work and receive training in both Hong Kong and a GBA Mainland city, with about 6-12 months spent in each location.

The Scheme entails a cross-border employment arrangement under a Hong Kong contract. As such, apart from the obligations under the relevant Hong Kong legislation including the Employment Ordinance (e.g., to provide the statutory leave benefits) and Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance (e.g., to provide a safe and healthy work environment), employers will also need to comply with any applicable local PRC law. It is important that employers seek legal and tax advice to understand their obligations and structure the arrangement appropriately before sending the employees to work in GBA Mainland cities.

The Scheme’s guidelines for employers are available at: https://www2.jobs.gov.hk/0/Doc/information/en/gbayes/gbayes_guidelines_en.pdf

For general guidance, the Labour Department has also published a guide for Hong Kong people who plan to work in the Mainland, which is available at: https://www2.jobs.gov.hk/0/en/information/Mainland/Guide/