Employment Support Scheme Hong Kong

Centralized HR and Treasury

Improving visibility, efficiency and control with Fidinam as an outsourced Service Centre for HR and Treasury services.

Companies growing across countries in the APAC region, often face internal operational challenges, such as dealing with HR and treasury activities within a decentralized system. Centralization is often a viable solution for bigger firms, able to allocate appropriate resources for addressing their expanded corporate footprint.

SMEs instead, usually value more a decentralize approach, for addressing local regulatory complexity with limited resources.

Fidinam, leveraging on its multi-jurisdiction know-how, offers a hybrid approach, providing the centralization (in outsourcing) of corporate treasury and HR service, while maintaining a direct contact with Clients’ regional offices to tackle local compliance challenges.

In our vision decentralized and centralized functions cooperate to complement each other while cutting costs and creating efficiency.

What Fidinam Can Do

For companies looking  to centralize payroll and treasury across multiple business units, Fidinam can offer the following services.

Range of Services :

  1. Review existing HR and Treasury processes to identify potential inefficiencies;
  2. Develop ex-novo Internal HR and Treasury processes focusing on payroll data flow, treasury control and payments authorizations;
  3. Issuance of pay slips and processing of related payments;
  4. Calculation and payment of Social Security and/or other compulsory contributions;
  5. HR support in case of internal disputes between the company and employees;
  6. Full outsourced corporate treasury service including payment  management and scheduling with cloud software,  online bank transfers, cheques, TT forms, cash orders etc.
Hanoi

EU – Vietnam Trade Agreement enters into force

On 1st August 2020, EUVFTA – the new landmark free trade agreement between Vietnam and European Union – has entered into force.

The new agreement, signed on 30th June 2019 by Ms. Cecilia Malmstrom (European Trade Commissioner) and Mr. Tran Tuan Anh (Vietnam’s Minister of Industry and Trade), is the most comprehensive trade agreement that the EU has concluded with a developing country. Indeed, at the core of the EUVFTA there is a near complete removal of tariffs between the two countries, including the elimination of more than 99% of customs duties within 10 years. Immediately upon entry into force, 65% of EU exports to Vietnam and 71% of Vietnamese exports to the EU have been duty free.

Under the agreement, the two parties have committed to ratify and implement the eight fundamental Conventions of International Labour Organization (ILO) and respect its principles. They have also implemented the Paris Agreement as well as other international environmental agreements.

Moreover, the deal also includes an institutional and legal link to the EU-Vietnam Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, allowing appropriate action in the case of serious breaches of human rights.

Finally, the entry into force of the EUVFTA comes in conjunction with the on-going Covid-19 pandemic and the growing global trade tensions with China. This has contributed to the growing trend for companies to diversify their supply chains, with Vietnam quickly becoming a principal beneficiary.

 (Source: European Commission)

For more information about Vietnam, visit our dedicated page

BUD FTA Programme: how the Hong Kong Government supports companies towards their expansion in South East Asia

The Program

Set up in June 2012 by the Hong Kong Government, the “Dedicated Fund on Branding, Upgrading and Domestic Sales” (“BUD Fund”) originally aimed at supporting Hong Kong enterprises in exploring and developing the Mainland market through (i) brand development, (ii) upgrade and restructure of operation and (iii) promotion of domestic sales.

Recent updates – Year 2020

In order to further support local enterprises during their expansion plan towards new markets, the Trade and Industry Department (TID) decided to extend the geographical scope of the BUD Fund to include all economies with which Hong Kong has signed Free Trade Agreements (FTAs).

Covering Markets

In January 2020, these enhancement measures have been implemented; hence the new BUD “FTA Programme” is now available for HK companies looking to undertake development projects in countries that signed a Free Trade Agreement with Hong Kong, including

  • ASEAN Markets: Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, the Philippines and Myanmar.
  • FTA Markets: the four member states of the European Free Trade Association (i.e. Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Macao and Georgia.

Available Funding

Since April 2020, Hong Kong enterprises can make use of a total funding up to HKD 4 Mio to undertake projects in the Mainland or other economies which have signed FTAs with Hong Kong.

Funding would be provided on a matching basis, meaning the Hong Kong Government will cover a maximum of 50% of the total approved project cost.

Eligibility and Objective

Irrespective of whether the applicants belong to the manufacturing or service sector and whether they already have any business operations in the FTA markets, all non-listed enterprises registered in Hong Kong under the Business Registration Ordinance with substantive business operations in Hong Kong are eligible to apply.

The program’s objective is to provide funding support to Hong Kong enterprises to undertake projects to develop brands, upgrade and restructure their business operations and promote sales in the FTA markets, in order to enhance their competitiveness and facilitate their business development in these areas.

Expenses that can could be covered by the Hong Kong Government’s BUD fund are:

  • Operating costs for setting up a new business entity in FTA markets (including business registration, rental/renovation expenses, utility expenses and the expenses for engaging professional services for setting up the new business entity);
  • Cost for travelling and accommodation between Hong Kong and the FTA economies;
  • Cost for branding, advertisement, marketing and enhancing company website;
  • Costs related to trademark/patent registration in Hong Kong or the FTA economies;
  • Direct cost for producing or procuring sample/prototype;
  • Cost for procuring/leasing additional machinery/equipment;
  • Cost for establishing online sales channels, organizing/participating in other promotional events/activities in FTA economies or Hong Kong.

 

Interested in OBTAINING FINANCING FOR YOUR BUSINESS tHROUGH THE BUD fund but not sure where to start?

Speak with one of our Fidinam consultants in Hong Kong to learn more about it!

vietnam

COVID-19 in Vietnam: Consequences on work permit and travels

Since the start of the emergency, Vietnamese government has imposed several entry-ban and restriction to travels, with direct consequences on work permit release. Within all the measures and relief policies to contain the emergency, Vietnamese government has also provided guidelines for work-permit in order to contain the spread of disease.

Work permit for Experts: how it worked before COVID-19

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the process to allow foreign employees to enter Vietnam included only two steps as follows:

Step 1: Obtain Entry Approval issued by the Department of Immigration (“DI”).

The company submits an application to the DI for its approval. The DI grants the Entry Approval within five working days as of receiving the application.

Step 2: Issuance of Visa by the Consulate/Embassy of Vietnam overseas.

Once received the Approval, the foreign employee can apply for the Visa at the Consulate/Embassy of Vietnam in his/her country. Within the following three or five working days, the Visa is granted.

Find more about Investing in Vietnam here.

Work permit for Experts: step-by-step guide with covid-19

Considering the global sanitary emergency, the process has become more complex and uncertain. It may be summarized in the following steps:

Step 1: Apply for the approval issued by the People Committee (“PC Approval”)

Companies have to file a set of documents to the Labor Department, including the following materials:

  • An official letter;
  • The list of foreign employees and their dependents (if any);
  • A quarantine plan indicating the hotel where each foreigner will stay during the quarantine period. The chosen hotel must be among those approved by the Authorities;
  • Documents specifying the relationship between employees and their dependents respectively, such as the spouse and children under 18 years old.

The Labor Department consolidates all the requests and sends the submitted applications to the HCMC People’s Committee for its consideration on a regular basis. Thereafter, the People Committee decides whether to grant the approval to the applicants or not.

Timeline: Around 2 or 3 weeks as from the date of submission.

Step 2: Apply for Entry Approval

Upon having PC Approval, the company shall submit an application to the Immigration Department and provide documents proving the sponsorship of the company to its employee (i.e. the labor contract, ID card and business card). The application must include the flight details and the related booking confirmation.

Timeline: 05 working days

Step 3: Apply for Visa

Upon receiving the Entry Approval, the foreign employee can apply for the visa at the Consulate/Embassy of Vietnam in his/her country. However, due to the epidemic, Vietnamese embassy/consular in the host countries are temporarily closed or opened for a few days per week with very limited operations.

Step 4: Apply for approval of the Health Department

Upon receiving the Visa, the sponsor company must submit an application to the Health Department in order to obtain its approval.

The application must include the confirmation of the hotel reservation, flight ticket, quarantine plan, plan for arranging and hiring ambulance and medical staff as well as Covid-19 test upon arrival, etc.

Entering to VietNam: what to consider

Currently, non-stop flights from western countries to Vietnam are not allowed. Therefore, foreign employees have two options:

  • Contact the Chamber of Commerce of which their company is a member so that the Chamber itself gathers all foreigners and organizes a special aircraft to bring them to Vietnam. This special aircraft must have a permit of the two governments (Vietnam and the country from which the flight departs).
  • Booking commercial flights. Accordingly, the foreign employee shall book at least 2 flights. However, due to COVID- 19, flights and transit arrangements are still subject to changes and cancellations at the last minute.

The airline is likely to request travelers to obtain a medical certificate issued by a medical institution in their home country confirming that they have been tested negative for Covid-19 before the travel date.

All travellers authorized to enter Vietnam shall be escorted directly to the hotel for the mandatory quarantine period. The transportation from the airport to the hotel should be arranged by the hotel in liaison with the Health authorities. Quarantined guests are requested to stay in-room with room service (breakfast, lunch and dinner) for a minimum duration of 14 days if they are not tested positive for COVID-19.

Health monitoring tests will be conducted by the Vietnamese Health authorities during the quarantine. All related costs will be borne by the company/organization.

The procedure might be changed from day to day. Requirements may also vary depending on various factors such as the province, company/organization, hotel, airline etc.

Fidinam (Vietnam) Ltd

If you are looking for assistance, do not hesitate to contact us: Fidinam (Vietnam) Ltd can help in guiding you through the process.

blockchain based network

China’s Blockchain-based Service Network: why you should be interested in it

Launched in April 2020, Blockchain-based Service Network (BSN) is the Chinese government-backed blockchain initiative, conceived to support blockchain SMEs to position and develop in the Crypto space. The network relies on FISCO BCOS open-source protocol, a collaborative project developed by Beyondsoft, Digital China, Forms Syntron, Huawei, Shenzhen Securities Communications, Tencent, WeBank, YIBI Technology, Yuexiu Financial Holdings and more. China Government has recently announced that BSN will be accessible by external users starting from August 10th, 2020.

How BSN works

Blockchain-based service network is an information infrastructure where all participants share the same public services provided by Chinese Government and currently integrates six public blockchains: Tezos, NEO, Nervos, EOS, IRISnet and Ethereum.  Without the need of acquiring extra physical servers or cloud services, it aims at greatly reduce participants costs and encourage micro-size and SMEs to access BSN and accelerate the widespread of Block-chain technology. Indeed, developers will be allowed to create decentralized application using the facilities (bandwidth and data centers) provided by BSN’s offshore centers. The core project relies on public city nodes provided by specific data centers and cloud resources providers: once they have installed the public city node software, they can be linked in the BSN network. In the official Blockchain-based service network website, it is accessible live node status. From here, it becomes accessible to external participants, that can start deploying their block-chain solution form there, starting from pre-built chain code. Nodes are available in more than 120 cities in China and 8 international cities (amongst which: Paris, Sydney, Tokyo, and many more).

Main Advantages

  • Cost-saving for access and application development: aiming at spreading blockchain technology usage and adoption, Blockchain-based service network is built in a such a smart way that allows SMEs, micro-sized companies and individuals to the blockchain industry with consistent costs-saving. Smart gateways and pre-built nodes do not require for technology investments nor particular blockchain skills. It is estimated that blockchain companies’ operating costs will be reduced as much as 80%;

 

  • Accessibility and flexibility: Blockchain-based service network provides consensus order cluster services to all application, allowing users to share the same identification certificate and access to application. Leveraging on these factors implies that each BSN-node is not owned by a single entity, but data center becomes the owner of the related city node.

 Why China is investing in the BSN project?

Blockchain-based service network represents the technological equivalent of the Belt and Road initiative with strong commitment form China Government: China Mobile and China Union Pay have invested roughly CNY 200 Mil in the project. As the next industrial revolution will be based on new technologies, blockchain will play a fundamental role. China, with its BSN, will provide the infrastructure for promising blockchain projects to develop further, while allowing them to work in a connected way within the same technological environment. The project will attract international companies operating in the blockchain space, while establishing China as the leading jurisdiction for blockchain technology.

Want to get part of the next Chinese technological revolution?

As said, accessing BSN is extremely easy and does not require great cost efforts. If you want to get part to the next technological revolution and require more information about crypto and blockchain service, contact our dedicated desk.

sydney

64 Clarence Street Sydney gets a new look

On Behalf of our valued client ST Real Estate, Fidinam Australasia Real Estate (FARE) is excited to announce that we have recently received development approval for a full building upgrade and the addition of 5 new office floors to our asset at 64 Clarence Street, Sydney.

64 Clarence street sydney

Upon competition we will have increased the leasable floorspace from 1,575 square metres to over 2,500 square metres and will have the potential to add a roof top bar. Finishes will be A grade in quality, comprising boutique 200 square metre floor plates with three sides of floor to ceiling glass. 64 Clarence Street is located directly above Wynyard railway station in the Centre of the Sydney CBD. Buildings of this size, quality and with a corner location are extremely rare, and we are looking forward to maximizing the value of this asset for ST Real Estate. Getting to this phase of the development could not have been done with out the support of Patrick Lardi Chairman ST Australia Real Estate, Rido Pin and the  creative design of Plus Architecture, project management by Tony Whaling Ibiz Design,  large team of consultants and the Fidinam Australasia Real Estate team. Development is due to commence in June 2022 with a targeted completion of June 2023, where we look forward to welcoming our new tenant customers.

To learn more about this development or how we can help you with your real estate strategy please contact Matthew Burrows at matthew.burrows@fidinam.com

Hong Kong Distance Business Program

Hong Kong Distance Business Program

Your business is established in Hong Kong. During the Covid19 crisis, you realized you were not properly equipped for remote working. Did you know that under the Distance Business (D-Biz) Program, you could receive some funding to adopt dedicated IT solutions?

Under the Hong Kong Anti-Epidemic Fund, the Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC) has launched a D-Biz Program to support enterprises running their business remotely.

Funding – Enterprises can claim up to HK$100,000 per IT solution and training expenses facilitating remote working, for 3 projects maximum, i.e. HK$300,000 in total. Such IT solutions and projects shall be implemented within a 6 months’ timeframe, and training expenses shall not exceed 10% of each IT solution’s costs.

IT categories – The D-Biz Program covers
12 IT categories relating to distance business. These include a wide range of solutions such as online orders, self-service systems, digital payments, online financial and HR management systems, virtual meetings tools, cybersecurity, and other cloud-based support systems.

Eligibility – Hong Kong companies with a valid Business Registration Certificate, ongoing business commenced before 1 January 2020 and substantive operations in the industry related to the project are eligible.

Timeline – Applications will remain open until 31st October 2020.

Are you equipped for the next wave of home working? Shall you apply? How?

Contact us for tailored advice

Hong Kong

Which Housing Arrangements Can Reduce Your Taxable Income?

You are residing in Hong Kong. As an employee, you receive a salary, a substantial part of which is allocated to pay your rent. Did you know that by asking your employer to provide you with rent-free or subsidized accommodation, you could reduce your income subject to Salaries Tax?

There are three ways employers can grant employees housing support:

  1. Housing Allowance: The employer grants the employee extra cash, included within his salary, having no control on how the employee will spend the money.
  2. Rent-Free Accommodation: The employer, as a company, rents a flat and provides it to his employee as place of residence (in which case the lease agreement is entered into with the employer). In such case, the employer automatically controls the rental spending.
  3. Subsidized Accommodation: The employer wholly or partially reimburses the rent paid by the employee (in which case the lease agreement is entered into by the employee), and proper supervision is exercised over the employee’s expenditures.

Under scenario 1, and since the employer has no proper control over the expenditures of the employee, the full amount of the Housing Allowance is treated as salary, and is therefore be subject to Salaries Tax.

Under scenarios 2 and 3, and as long as the employer exercises a proper degree of control over the employee’s expenses, the Inland Revenue Ordinance (“IRO”) only treats the “Rental Value” of the flat as taxable income, instead of taxing the employee on the actual amount of rent paid or reimbursed by the employer. This is very advantageous to the employee, as the Rental Value is computed at the standard rate of 10% of the employee’s total remaining income. Here is an example:

 

Scenario 1 Scenarios 2 & 3
Salary 300,000 HKD Salary 300,000 HKD
Housing Allowance 120,000 HKD Rental Value 30,000 HKD
Income Subject to Tax 420,000 HKD Income Subject to Tax 330,000 HKD

 

By reducing his assessable income, the employee automatically reduces the amount of Salaries Tax payable, regardless the progressive rates applying to his case.

The grant is neutral for employers, while it enables employees to reduce their tax exposure.

  • Can you ask your employer to provide you with Rent-Free or Subsidized Accommodation?
  • How shall employers document the grant of a housing support?
  • How can the employer prove he exercises proper supervision over rental reimbursements?
  • When do the specific rates of 4% and 8% apply to compute the Rental Value of an accommodation?
  • Can employees also use education expenses to reduce their taxable income?

Fidinam Can Help You.

 

Contact Us today

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