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Hong Kong - Retirement

Hong Kong does not have an official retirement age, although those who have benefits under the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) scheme are able to access them at age 65 (unless they retire early, which is normally between the ages of 60-63).

The MPF is a compulsory employee and employer pension program that is overseen by a private organization. It was launched in December 2000. Contributions to this program are made by both the employer and the employee. Both are mandated to contribute a minimum of 5% of the employer’s salary to the fund on a monthly basis. However, if the employee earns less than HK$6,500 per month or HK$78,000 per year then they do not have to contribute to the fund on a monthly basis but can do so if they wish. Regardless as to how much the employee earns, the employer must still make their contribution.

The maximum amount of relevant income is HK$25,000 per month or HK$300,000 per year. If the employee earns more than this then the employer can cap their contribution at these levels. It is also possible for both employer and employee to contribute more than the mandatory amounts. Those individuals who are self-employed must also contribute 5% of their relevant income to the MPF.

Benefits of the MPF are payable upon retirement, which is usually considered age 65. Benefits can only be withdrawn early if the recipient dies, leaves Hong Kong permanently, is permanently disabled, or retires early (but after the age of 60).

Some employees are exempt under the MPF scheme. Exemptions comprise of those expats who are in Hong Kong for less than 13 months, expats who are members of retirement schemes outside of Hong Kong, employees of the European Union Office of the European Commission in Hong Kong, domestic employees, and self-employed hawkers.

If you are exempt but still want to pay into the scheme then you may do so at your own will. However, the employer is not mandated to pay into it on their employee’s behalf. In addition, if the employee is registered as exempt then they must remain exempt.

If the employee is not exempt but is still a native of another country the MPF contributions don’t have to be made for first 12 months. In the 13th month, however, contributions to the MPF are mandatory for both the employer and the employee. For more information regarding the MPF scheme, visit: http://www.gov.hk/en/about/abouthk/factsheets/docs/mpf.pdf

Contributions to the scheme are deductable from your Hong Kong income tax. An expat who pays into the scheme through their company or on their own can withdraw their funds upon their departure from Hong Kong. However, because the program also depends on residence before retirement and is income-tested and asset-tested, most expats do not rely on it to provide for their own old-age pension. Instead, most expats either contribute to their own private pension plan or continue making payments to their government plan. For instance, natives of the United States can continue making payments to their Social Security when they file taxes from abroad.

Before departing for Hong Kong, it is wise to consult with someone in your country who is knowledgeable in your government pension plan if you are contributing to one. It is possible that you may have to continue making payments to it while you are abroad. If you do not have such a plan then investing in your own individual retirement account might be worthwhile as well. Although there are a few companies in Hong Kong that offer private retirement funds to their employers, these are few and far between.

In the past, the retirees of Hong Kong often faced obstacles when it came to their quality of life. Many ended up living in poverty. As a result, the MPF was initiated, in addition to newer social welfare programs, to ensure that needs were fulfilled of a quickly growing retiring generation.

For more information, visit:

Mandatory Provident Schemes Fund Authority
Level 36, Tower 1, Metroplaza, 223 Hing Fong Road, Kwai Fong,
New Territories
Tel: (852) 2259 8806
Email: mpfa@mpfa.org.hk

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