HONG KONG PENSIONS
Pensions due to HMOCS officials (and families) for service in Hong Kong are payable by the Hong Kong SAR Government. Payments to most pensioners resident outside Hong Kong are made by the Crown Agents Bank, on behalf of the Hong Kong Treasury. In some cases pensioners will also receive a supplementary pension payment from the Overseas Pensions Department of the DFID, in accordance with the Hong Kong Sterling Pensions Safeguard Scheme negotiated with HMG in 1996.
Declaration of Entitlement
The Crown Agents, acting on behalf of the Hong Kong Treasury, have a limited number of categories of the people authorized to attest signatures on the annual Life Certificates required to prove entitlement to receive a Hong Kong service pension. OSPA has helped to obtain the necessary agreement from the Hong Kong Treasury and the Crown Agents for certain additions to the approved categories. The Crown Agents say that some other pension schemes around the world have fewer categories and have not caused difficulties. Any pensioner who has difficulty in finding an attestor should inform the Crown Agents Bank who have promised to find a solution.
NHS RULES FOR TREATMENT OF NON-UK RESIDENTS
In April 2015 new rules were introduced requiring all persons not resident within the EEA to pay charges for treatment by the NHS while visiting Britain, except in cases of Accident or Emergency, or consultation at GP surgeries. There are exemptions for people serving overseas on Crown Service (eg Diplomats or military personnel) or working in UK Government-funded posts, if they were ordinarily resident in Britain before taking up those posts.
The relevant UK authorities were not aware that HMG had agreed to continue to recognize as Crown Servants those former HMOCS and other expatriate officers who continued to work for the Hong Kong SAR Government after the 1997 handover. Some of them are still working in Hong Kong now. OSPA has been able to obtain the necessary agreement from HMG that those officers and their families will be exempt from the new charges on non-UK residents.