Onboard Q4 2016 – Latest Visa and Payroll updates in Asia

Please see below our latest issue of Onboard, Links International’s quarterly update that keeps you aware of significant payroll and visa developments across the region.


Hong Kong signs Working Holiday Scheme with Hungary

Hong Kong and Hungary have signed an agreement for a bilateral Working Holiday Scheme for people aged between 18 and 30 to apply for a working visa to allow them to stay in Hungary or Hong Kong for up to 12 months. 
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Accrued benefits analysis by MPFA

Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) funds are increasing each year. The MPFA recently released an analysis reporting that the benefits held by scheme members almost tripled from $53,000 to $144,000 in the 10-year period ending in December 2015.
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Minimum wage set to rise

The Minimum Wage Commission has reached a consensus to raise the current minimum wage from HK$32.5 to HK$34.5. This increase of 6.15% will come into effect from 1 May 2017, subject to the approval of the Chief Executive and the Executive Council.
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Medical insurance decreases in Guangzhou

The medical insurance rate of employers in Guangzhou has decreased from 8% to 7%. The new rate came into effect on 1 October 2016.
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Pension insurance increases in Guangzhou

Base pension and employment injury insurance has increased to RMB2906 in Guangzhou.
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Unemployment and employment benefits amended in Xian

The unemployment insurance rate and employment injury insurance rate have changed in Xian.
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New “name and shame” regime in PRC

A new “name and shame” regime will come into effect on 1 January 2017 in mainland China for employers who have violated the PRC labour law. The name, uniform social credit code and address of the employer or comapny who committed the violations will be published on the website of the MOHRSS and in local mainstream media. 
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Mandatory retrenchment reporting

With effect from 1 January 2017, all companies in Singapore must notify the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) about any redundancies within five working days after they provide notice of retrenchment to affected employees. Companies who do not do this can expect warnings and penalties of up to S$5,000.


FSS amount increased

The monthly total contribution to Macau’s Social Security Fund (FSS) will increase from MOP45 to MOP90, effective 1 January 2017. The ratio paid by employers and employees will remain the same at 2:1, but employers will now pay MOP60 and employees MOP30.
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Fewer non-resident workers in October

At the end of October, the total number of non-resident workers in Macau was down by 1.1% month-on-month, amounting to 178,215. Whilst the hospitality industry has the largest number of non-resident workers, the latest data indicates a decline in the number of non-resident construction workers. 
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Macau’s unemployed required to leave the country after 2 or 8 days

Macau’s Immigration Services has introduced a new policy whereby non-residents who have either been fired or have left their job are required to leave the territory within eight days. If the non-residents have been working in Macau for under six months, they will be required to leave the territory within two days after they are no longer employed. 
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Adjustment of basic wages

From 1 January 2017, the monthly basic wage will be adjusted from NT$20,008 to NT$21,009 – a 5% increase. Adjustments to the hourly basic wage will come into effect in two phases: the first phase, which increased the hourly wage to NT$126, began on 1 October 2016; and the second phase, which will see an increase to NT$133 per hour.
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Increasing payment for mid-shift meals

A circular issued by the Ministry of Labor – Invalids and Social Affairs on 1 September 2016, declared that the maximum payment for mid-shift meals for employees working under 100% state-owned, one-member, limited liability companies shall be increased from VND680,000/person/month to no more than VND730,000/person/month. 

Minimum basic salary to increase from 1 July 2017

The National Assembly has approvved the Resolution on State budget estimates for 2017, which will see the basic salary increase up to VND1,300,000/month, with effect from 1 July 2017.


Celing age for Australia Working Holiday Visa

The Australian government is considering options for expanding the upper age of eligibility for a Working Holiday Visa from 30 to 35 years, including timeframes, legislative requirements and engagement with partner countries. Reciprocity of arrangements for Australian citizens remains a key feature of the programme. The current age of eligibility (18 to 30) will remain in place for the time being.
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Adjustment of Protected Earnings Amount

The rate for Protected Earnings Amount (PEA) will be adjusted on 1 January to AUD358.05 per week; AUD716.10 per fortnight; AUD1432.20 per four-week period; and AUD1556.88 per monthly period.
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Tax rules to change for Temporary Working Holiday makers

Effective 1 January 2017, employees on a Working Holiday will be taxed at 19% on earnings up to AUD37,000, after which ordinary marginal tax rates will apply. They will no longer be entitled to claim the tax free threshold.
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Japan tries to lure global talent

Japan is considering “significantly” shortening the requirement time for highly skilled foreign professionals to apply for permanent residency, in a move to help lure more global talent to Japan. If the timeframe is reduced, the Japanese system will be one of the fastest systems to issue “green cards” to top-level professionals.
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Action plan to expand youth employment

The government has announced an action plan for the public sector to expand youth employment through the implementation of work-life balance schemes, such as parental leave for fathers and part-time work.
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