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Hong Kong - Social Security and Welfare

There are quite a few welfare programs available in Hong Kong to residents, but expats qualify for few of them and there are restrictions regarding when a non-citizen may apply for them. If you decide to achieve permanent residency in Hong Kong then you will be eligible for the programs, too.

The different programs all have their own distinct criteria. Your income and assets are taken into consideration for the majority of the programs, although your age might factor in for others. Residence status or the time you’ve been working for one company can determine if you qualify for social security benefits in Hong Kong.

Retirees can apply for monetary assistance through the Hong Kong Social Welfare Department. Their programs are in place to ensure care for those who are suffering financially due to natural disasters, disability, poverty, age, unemployment, or the death of a family member. Some of the most common welfare programs include: The Criminal and Law Enforcement Injuries Compensation Scheme; The Emergency relief fund for those who are victims of natural disasters, criminals, or police brutality; The Traffic Accident Victims Assistance Scheme; The Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme (CSSA) which helps individuals increase their income to a certain minimum level; The Social Security Allowance Scheme (SSAS) which assists in fulfilling the needs of the elderly and those with disabilities; The Support for Self-Reliance Scheme (SFS); and The Portable Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme (PCSSA) which helps the elderly Hong Kong residents who retire in Guangdong and Fujian.

Hong Kong Social Welfare Department
Tel: 2343 2255
Email :

The Family and Welfare Department uses charitable and trust funds to help families in financial trouble. There are adoption services, organizations for foster care, and social support for families and women who are facing difficult situations.

A lot of the social welfare programs in Hong Kong can be applied for online. In addition, there is information regarding the eligibility criteria for the programs available on the department’s website, too. In most instances, you must meet certain minimum requirements for your period of residency. In addition to having an official Hong Kong visa, you must also have lived in Hong Kong for seven or more years. As a result, expats who are only in Hong Kong for a short period of time don’t have access to most kinds of social security especially when it concerns financial support.

Since Hong Kong doesn’t have an official poverty line, the Hong Kong Council of Social Service figures it to be half the median household income, or HK$3,500 for one person and HK$13,250 for a family of four. Some residents qualify for government welfare programs but for different reasons do not receive it, while others live in poor conditions but don’t meet the eligibility requirements. In Hong Kong, a social stigma attached to welfare has made some people wary of applying for it.

Hong Kong’s state retirement pension is known as the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF). This is a mandatory saving scheme that requires both employers and employees to contribute to it. It is similar to the United States’ Social Security fund which employees pay into and can then access upon retirement.

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

The employer contributes 5% of the employee’s income. The employee will also contribute 5% of their income, unless they make less than HK$5,000 per month. The specific amount that is paid into the fund depends on the employee’s salary.

The benefits in the MPF scheme are payable at age 65. The only times that the benefits can be withdrawn early are if the member dies, retires early, permanently leaves Hong Kong, or if they have a small balance of less than HK$6,500. If an employee changes jobs they may transfer the benefits to a new MPF scheme operated by the new employer; transfer the benefits to a preserved account; or keep the benefits in the existing scheme.

Expats who are not staying in Hong Kong longer than 13 months do not have to contribute to a MPF. In addition, if you are staying longer than 13 months but already participate in your own native country’s pension scheme then you might be exempt as well. If you are not exempt then you must participate in an MPF registered or exempt scheme and you will be entitled to benefits when you leave Hong Kong. For more information about the MPF, visit:

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