Helen Liao
Helen Liao

Helen Liao

Partner

LOCATION:
Hong Kong
DIRECT:
+852 2825 9779

Helen Liao

Partner

LOCATION:
Hong Kong
DIRECT:
+852 2825 9779


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Helen Liao is a partner in the Employment & Immigration practice with over 15 years of experience. As a dual-qualified lawyer in both mainland China and Hong Kong, Helen has solid experience in handling cross-border employment arrangements, income tax compliance solutions, immigration and complex multi-jurisdictional labour issues arising from global talent mobility and commercial transactions including mergers and acquisitions, outsourcing situations and other re-organisations.

She advises both Chinese-funded enterprises and multinational companies across a wide range of industries in mainland China and Hong Kong, including life science, medical, pharmaceuticals, tourism, aviation, telecommunications, media, cultural publishing, retail, construction, fashion, luxury goods, as well as asset management, banking, securities, insurance and other financial services.

Prior to joining the firm, Helen had worked at a top-tier PRC law firm in mainland China and the Chinese offices of a reputable international law firm for nearly 10 years. Helen is recognised by World Bank as an “expert” on China employment law for her regular contributions to the IFC-World Bank’s global “Doing Business” project. She also delivers public seminars in Mandarin, Cantonese and English to various HR management organisations and key MNC clients in respect of recent developments in the China and Hong Kong employment law practice.

Helen regularly advises Chinese & multinational employers throughout the entire process of employment from recruitment to termination, which consists of following:

  • Draft & review offer letters;
  • Draft & review employment contracts and restrictive covenants;
  • Draft & review employment-related handbooks;
  • Draft & review corporate policies including workplace safety, anti-discrimination, holiday & leave entitlements, staff integration and employee transfer;
  • Draft employees’ benefit and incentive plans;
  • Advise in the negotiation process of termination of senior executive’s employment;
  • Provide legal advices, practical plans and guides on cross-border employment, and
  • Advise cases associated with sexual harassment, data privacy, anti-corruption internal investigation and whistle-blower protection;
  • Assist clients in dealing with the unannounced inspections conducted by the Labour Department, Immigration Department and Revenue Department, as well as the labour dispute resolution with employees;
  • Application of work visas & permits; and
  • Other matters related to employment & immigration. 

Representative Matters

  • Designed a cross-border dispatch program for senior management of a large Chinese-funded enterprise, provided legal advice on labour laws, tax laws and visa-related issues in mainland China and Hong Kong;
  • Designed a cross-border dispatch program for employees of a large Chinese property group, drafted Hong Kong employment law documents and provided services for visa application;
  • Reviewed the employee handbook and other policies related to human resources management in mainland China and Hong Kong and other “Belt and Road” countries and regions for a large Chinese-funded enterprise in communications industry;
  • Reviewed employment contract templates, employment handbook and over 20 separate policies and provided legal advisory services of Human Resources compliances for the Hong Kong head office of a state-owned telecommunications company and its branches/companies in 23 overseas countries/regions;
  • Provided legal advice to a PRC state-owned travel services company on its cross-border secondment between Mainland China and Hong Kong, which covers employment, immigration and tax issues under both HK and PRC law and practice. The ‘one-stop’ legal services were highly appreciated by the client;
  • Acted for a prominent oil and gas state-owned Chinese company on cross-border secondment arrangements, employee transfer and workforce reduction;
  • Designed a cross-border dispatch program for employees of a large Chinese-funded enterprise in tourism industry, reviewed relevant documents related to the rent compensation plan.

Education

  • LL.M, University of Bristol
  • LL.B, China University of Political Science and Law

Speaking engagement and events

  • “Cross-border Employment under Pandemic” (Mandarin, December 2020);
  • “Tax Authorities Collecting Social Insurance: Risks, Trend and Measures” (Cantonese, December 2020);
  • “The Impact of Civil Code of PRC on Human Resources Management and the Relevant Measures” (Cantonese, December 2020);
  • “3 steps in Human Resources Management – Common Legal Risks under the employment in Hong Kong”, invited by ICBCI, Hong Kong (Mandarin, November 2020);
  • “Talent, Employment & Income Tax in the Greater Bay Area”, hosted by European Committee, The Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (English, October 2020);
  • “New Preferential Policies for Hong Kong Residents Working and Living in Great Bay Area”, hosted by Legal Profession advancement Association Limited (Cantonese, September 2020);
  • “Interpretation of the ‘Announcement on Individual Income Tax Policy in relation to Overseas Income’, hosted by China Huarong International Holdings Limited & its subsidiaries in mainland China (Mandarin, July 2020); and
  • “Variables and Invariables: Cross-border Employment Arrangements in the Greater Bay Area during the Economic Restart after the Epidemic”, hosted by The Third China Labour Law Lawyers Professional Development Conference (Mandarin, June 2020).

Publications

  • Legal update - “Human Resources & Compliance in New Era of China Civil Code and Judicial Interpretations” (Jan, 2021);
  • Legal update – “The Impact of ‘EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment’ on Employment in China” (Jan, 2021);
  • Legal update – “China’s tax authorities to collect social insurance: Managing labour cost and compliance” (Nov, 2020);
  • Legal update – “Proposed amendment of working hour system in Shenzhen” (Nov, 2020);
  • Co-author of “Doing business in China”,  published in CCH (2012-2013);
  • Co-author of “Employment and Benefit Toolkit”, published in Practical Law under Thomson Reuters Legal Media Group (2015-2017).

Membership 

  • Chairman, Employment Law Committee, Hong Kong and Mainland Legal Profession Association.
  • Deputy Secretary-General, Legal Profession advancement Association Limited.
  • Invited arbitrator of Beihai International Arbitration Court.
  • Member of the Labour Law Branch of Labour and Social Security Law Society in Beijing.
  • Member of the Law Society of Hong Kong.
  • Member of Shenzhen Lawyers Association.

Accolades

  • Recommended Lawyer for Labour and Employment: Foreign Firms (China) in Legal 500 Asia Pacific (2021)
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