Mainland students can sit the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education exams from 2024 and they can do the written tests needed to enter university from across the border.
The Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority said yesterday it has received applications from schools in the mainland to participate.
A mainland school must be a qualified school for Hong Kong children residing in China and has been approved to offer the HKDSE curriculum by relevant Chinese authorities to be allowed to participate.
Students can sit the written exams in the mainland, but they have to take the English oral, PE and music exams in Hong Kong.
The authority said it would change some regulations so mainland students can sit for the exams without coming over.
But it added such a change is made after receiving applications from schools in the mainland for participation.
This means that mainland students studying in a qualified school can now choose to take written exams for most of the subjects without commuting to Hong Kong.
Those who do not come from schools for Hong Kong children can still sit for the exams as private candidates.
But for some applied learning and language subjects - such as psychology and French, which will not be offered in the mainland - students will still be required to attend the exams in Hong Kong.
Training for teachers will be provided to mainland schools in conducting the school-based assessment of 14 core and elective subjects, the authority said.
The logistics arrangements for the conduct of examinations and invigilation requirements "would follow those of Hong Kong as far as practicable," it added.
Ng Po-shing, a student guidance consultant from Hok Yau Club, said the new arrangement will not bring more rivals to local students.
He said since DSE adopts a standards-referenced reporting system to report candidates' grades, their marks will not affect one another, except for those who obtain level five or higher.
"But the number of these students [who obtain a level five in DSE] is not that high," Ng said. "Unless in the future there are many mainland students who find DSE more appealing, it will not pose a great threat to students in Hong Kong in the short term."
He said the new arrangement will help mainland candidates save transportation and quarantine costs.
Leo Chu Tsz-lok of the Democratic Party doubted if the authority can prevent problems in the mainland from happening, such as transportation delays, cheating or leakage of exam papers. He suggested that exam papers done by mainland candidates be brought to Hong Kong.