Hong Kong’s Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority (“MPFA”) has announced that MPF trustees will no longer accept visas in British National (Overseas) (“BN(O)”) passports as evidence for early withdrawal of MPF benefits from mandatory contributions.

Generally, scheme members who wish to leave Hong Kong permanently and withdraw their MPF benefits are required to make a statutory declaration that they will depart from Hong Kong with no intention of returning for employment or to re-settle as a permanent resident. In addition, they are required to provide documentary proof that they are permitted to reside in a place outside of Hong Kong.

It is understood that the directive from the MPFA is issued following a recent announcement by the Hong Kong government that BN(O) passports will no longer be recognised as a valid travel document or proof of identity.

BN(O) passport holders who are leaving Hong Kong will still be able to withdraw their MPF benefits deriving from voluntary contributions into the MPF scheme, but may need to wait until they have obtained a British citizen passport or attained the retirement age of 65 to apply to withdraw their MPF benefits deriving from mandatory contributions into the MPF scheme.

Employers who have employees leaving under the BN(O) visa scheme to be posted to a group company in the UK should be aware of this new directive, as they may face questions from their employees on this and requests for assistance.