LCQ7: Recognition of Hong Kong professional qualifications by Mainland
Under the framework of the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement, the Mainland and Hong Kong have signed multiple agreements on professional qualifications, including recognising certain Hong Kong professional qualifications or granting exemption from certain papers of professional qualification examinations, with a view to facilitating Hong Kong professionals to obtain Mainland professional qualifications and establish business on the Mainland. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the number of Hong Kong professionals having obtained professional qualifications on the Mainland through the aforesaid agreements or arrangements for exemption from certain papers so far, with a breakdown by professional qualification; and
(2) as the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development indicated in his reply to a question raised by a Member of this Council on July 13 this year that the scope of recognition of professional service qualifications between the Mainland and Hong Kong would be expanded, of the timetable or roadmap for the relevant work?
Having consulted relevant bureaux and departments, our consolidated reply to the two parts of the question is as follows:
Under the framework of the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA), the Mainland and Hong Kong have signed a number of agreements for mutual recognition of professional qualifications, or put in place exemption arrangements for papers of professional qualification examinations. In addition, for certain professions (such as medical services), the Mainland provides ways for Hong Kong professionals to provide services on the Mainland when meeting the necessary requirements, without signing separate agreements with Hong Kong under the framework of CEPA.
The information related to the agreements for mutual recognition of professional qualifications and exemption arrangements for examination papers (including the figures kept by the relevant bureaux and departments) is set out below:
(i) For accounting services, Hong Kong and the Mainland have reached an agreement to allow individuals who have passed the Qualification Programme of the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA) to be exempted from four papers under the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination of the Mainland. As at end October 2022, there are over 1 900 successful applications for mutual exemption of examination papers handled by HKICPA.
(ii) For architectural and engineering related professional services, Hong Kong professional bodies and the Mainland's relevant regulatory authorities have signed mutual recognition agreements for six professions, including general practice surveyors, architects, structural engineers, planners, quantity surveyors and building surveyors. As at end October 2022, about 1 600 Hong Kong professionals have acquired equivalent professional qualifications on the Mainland through mutual recognition.
(iii) For securities and futures services, the regulatory authorities of the Mainland and Hong Kong have reached an agreement on simplifying the relevant procedures for Hong Kong professionals applying for securities and futures industry qualifications on the Mainland. Since 2004, Hong Kong professionals applying to obtain securities and futures industry qualifications on the Mainland need only to pass examination on Mainland laws and regulations while examination on professional knowledge is not required. The Government does not have the number of Hong Kong professionals who have obtained such qualifications.
(iv) For estate agency services, the regulatory authorities of the two places have signed an agreement whereby each side would nominate a certain number of qualified estate agents to participate in the specially-designed training courses and examinations organised by the other side. Upon completing the course and passing the examination, Hong Kong estate agents can apply for the qualifications to practise on the Mainland. According to the information provided by the Estate Agents Authority, as at end October 2022, there is a total of 182 Hong Kong estate agents holding registration certificates granted by the China Institute of Real Estate Appraisers and Agents.
Government bureaux and departments will continue to encourage and promote the discussion of measures to further assist Hong Kong professionals to practise on the Mainland (including expanding the scope of mutual recognition of professional qualifications) between professional bodies and regulatory authorities of the two places in accordance with the needs and regulatory requirements of the relevant professional service sectors. The preferential liberalisation measures agreed between the two sides can be implemented under the CEPA framework.
Ends/Wednesday, November 9, 2022
Issued at HKT 12:30
Issued at HKT 12:30