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Summary of the Compulsory Quarantine Exemption Scheme for Senior Executives of SFC-licensed Corporations

  • Hong Kong
  • Other

03-06-2021

The Exemption Scheme

On 28 May 2021, the Securities and Futures Commission (the “SFC”) published a circular (the “Circular”) on the implementation of an exemption for senior executives of licensed corporations from compulsory quarantine arrangements in Hong Kong under Cap. 599C and Cap. 599E (the “Exemption Scheme”).

For the avoidance of doubt, an exempted executive is still subject to self-isolation at a designated quarantine hotel or accommodation arranged by the sponsoring licensed corporation (depending on the risk level of the place(s) the executive has been prior to his or her arrival at Hong Kong) for 14 days and a medical surveillance period of 14 or 21 days upon arrival, but he or she is allowed to leave his or her hotel or accommodation for approved activities set out in the Itinerary submitted to the SFC, and will be required to fully comply with the conditions of exemption specified in the Authorisation Letter issued by the Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau (the “FSTB”). Sample conditions include completion of a COVID-19 vaccination course, pre-departure, on arrival and post-arrival COVID-19 tests, point-to-point transportation, self-isolation and medical surveillance as set out in the Notes to application appended to the Exemption Scheme Application Form at Appendix I to the Circular.

Who may be exempted?

Returning executive

  • senior executive of a licensed corporation with a global or regional role returning to Hong Kong after travelling to foreign places primarily for the purposes of managing group entities for which he or she has responsibility

Visiting Executive

  • global or regional head or senior executive of a financial institution that a licensed corporation is affiliated with, who is travelling to Hong Kong primarily for the purposes of managing the licensed corporation

Is there an exemption quota?

Maximum number of entries into Hong Kong in each calendar month for each licensed corporation is:

  • two for returning executives; and
  • two for visiting executives.

How to get exempted?

  • Submit the completed Exemption Scheme Application Form and supporting documents (see below) to the SFC by email at etravel@sfc.hk at least five working days prior to the expected date of departure from Hong Kong (for returning executives) or arrival in Hong Kong (for visiting executives).
  • The FSTB will issue an electronic authorisation letter (the “Authorisation Letter”) to successful applicants, which will set out among other things, the conditions for exemption.
  • Exempted executives should bring with them to Hong Kong (i) a print-out copy of the Authorisation Letter, (ii) their proof of pre-departure negative COVID-19 test result and (iii) their COVID-19 vaccination record issued by a healthcare institution or a relevant authority of the government of the place where the vaccine was administered, which was submitted for the application for the Exemption Scheme as below (the “Vaccination Record”). Executives must present the Authorisation Letter at the border to be exempted from compulsory quarantine arrangements.

 Supporting documents for application

  • a copy of the executive’s Hong Kong identity card or passport photo page;
  • an itinerary of the executive for the entire duration of the trip (for a visiting executive) or medical surveillance period (for a returning executive) in Hong Kong (the “Itinerary”); and
  • a Vaccination Record.

The Itinerary to be submitted should comprise information only about the executive’s essential business activities, and should include the executive’s:

  • arrival and departure;
  • accommodation or designated quarantine hotel(s);
  • visits for conducting corresponding COVID-19 tests (for an exempted executive in self-isolation at an accommodation arranged by the sponsoring licensed corporation); and
  • organisations and venues to be visited with the dates and times of the visits.

Meals with others and social activities should not be included in the Itinerary.

The Vaccination Record must be in English or Chinese or translated into English or Chinese by a certified professional, and should show:

  • the name of the vaccinated person, which is identical to that in his or her valid travel document to show that he or she had received the recommended dose(s) of vaccination(s) against COVID-19 and the date(s) on which the dose(s) was or were administered; and

Note that the Vaccination Record should show that the executive arrives at Hong Kong on or after the 14th day after receiving the required dose(s) of a recognised COVID-19 vaccine, in order for him or her to be deemed completed a COVID-19 vaccination course.

Ongoing obligations

Exempted executives:

  • fully comply with the conditions set out in the Authorisation Letter.

Sponsoring licensed corporations:

  • keep an up-to-date record of the Itinerary of the exempted executive for the entire duration of the trip (for a visiting executive) or throughout the entire medical surveillance period (for a returning executive) in Hong Kong. In particular,
    • the Itinerary maintained by the sponsoring licensed corporation should also include information about the contact details of the persons who had met or would meet with the exempted executive in Hong Kong; and
    • any changes to the Itinerary (except for any changes to the persons who had met or would meet with the exempted executive in Hong Kong) should be submitted to the SFC upon arrival in Hong Kong and at the time when the sponsoring licensed corporation submits the Attestation Form as required below;
  • submit the Exemption Scheme Attestation Form at Appendix II to the Circular (the “Attestation Form”), every three working days or at the half-way point of the trip, whichever is earlier, and on the last day of the trip (for a visiting executive) or the medical surveillance period (for a returning executive), to the SFC; and
  • report to the SFC as soon as possible if an exempted executive is confirmed or suspected to be infected with COVID-19 during his or her trip in Hong Kong and within 14 days after departing Hong Kong (for a visiting executive) or during the medical surveillance period (for a returning executive).

Consequence of violation

  • Contraventions with the exemption conditions would result in removal of the exemption status.
  • Exempted persons subject to self-isolation in a designated quarantine hotel room who are found to have breached the self-isolation requirement will have their exemption status removed immediately, and will be sent to the HKSAR Government's Quarantine Centre for compulsory quarantine for 21 days.
  • It is also an offence if an exempted person fails to observe any of the conditions. On conviction, an exempted person is liable to a fine of HK$5,000 and to imprisonment for 6 months.