Working Visa in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is not only a great investment destination but also an excellent country to live and work. Unlike certain jurisdictions, Hong Kong has no cap amount of skilled migrant – the people who can live and work in Hong Kong as a skilled professional. This article provides an insight into the various work and business related visa schemes available in Hong Kong.
Are You Eligible?
To obtain a Hong Kong visa as a skilled professional, you must check your eligibility to decide which application route is suitable for you:
- If you were educated in Hong Kong as a full-time student and have since graduated
If you answer is “yes”, you may be eligible to extend your stay or return to Hong Kong under the Immigration Arrangements for Non-local Graduates (“IANG”)
- If you obtained your degree or higher qualification outside of Hong Kong
In this case, you may be eligible to immigrate to Hong Kong under the General Employment Policy (“GEP”). Please note that the GEP does not apply to Mainland China’s residents.
- If you are Chinese residents of the Mainland who are skilled professionals but have not been educated in Hong Kong
You may come to Hong Kong under the Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals (“ASMTP”)
- If you are skilled professional but have not yet secured a job offer in Hong Kong and you are interested to live and work in Hong Kong
You may be eligible to come to Hong Kong under the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (“QMAS”) which has no sector restriction.
Please note that you are not eligible to any of the immigration routes/options listed above if you are a citizen of Afghanistan, Albania, Cambodia, Cuba, Laos, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), Nepal and Vietnam.
A Summary of Each Visa
1. Immigration Arrangements for Non-local Graduates (“IANG”)
- If you apply within six months after graduation
If you begin your visa application process within six months after your graduation, you will be eligible to obtain your visa under IANG without a job offer.
- If you apply after six months have passed since graduation
In this case, you must secure an employment offer to be eligible to obtain a visa under the IANG.
b. Duration of visa
The duration of your visa and residence permit will be good for one year. You will need to apply for a visa extension after this for a period of two years. When you apply for visa extension for the second time, the validity of your visa will be two years. When you extend the visa for the third time you, the visa will be valid for another three-year period.
2. General Employment Policy (“GEP”)
This visa is meant for those who wish to immigrate to Hong Kong as a skilled professional but did not obtain their degree (or were not educated) in Hong Kong.
- Confirmed job offer
- Applicants must have secured an offer of employment when applying.
- The job vacancy must be relevant to your skills and qualifications that could not be easily filled by local labour.
- Highly skilled with a good education background, technical qualifications or proven professional experience
- For Chinese national living overseas you must have permanent residence overseas where you have been residing overseas for a minimum of one year before your application.
- Confirmed job offer
- Duration of visa
- You may extend the duration of your GEP visa for a period of two years.
- The relax pattern of extended duration of stay: 2+3+3 years
The first application of GEP visa extension will allow you to stay for a period of two years. The second GEP visa extension will allow you to stay for an additional three years and the third time you extend your visa it will be valid for a period of three years.
3. Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals (“ASMTP”)
- This type of visa is only open for Chinese resident of the Mainland.
- Similar to the GEP scheme, applicants must fulfil the following:
- possess good education background and qualifications that are not readily available in Hong Kong
- must secure a valid job offer when applying for a visa.
- Duration of visa
You may extend your visa for a period of two years. The second time you extend your visa, your ASMTP visa will be valid for an additional two years and the third time you extend your visa it will be valid for a period of three years.
4. Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (“QMAS”)
The QMAS is meant for foreign nationals who intend to come to Hong Kong to explore employment or business opportunities. It is quota based and it operates on a points-based system. Do note that successful entrants have to settle in Hong Kong by securing a valid employment offer or setting up business during the visa validity period.
- Good financial standing – they are able to financially support themselves and their dependents,
- Proficiency in Chinese or English,
- No criminal record and no adverse immigration record,
- Good educational background,
- Aged between 18-51 years and who also pass a point-based test.
- General Points Test (GPT) – highly skilled or talented persons
- Achievement-based Points Test (APT) – for talent with outstanding achievements like Nobel Prize winner.
QMAS visas are usually valid for one year (at the discretion of authorities) and are renewable for another year.
- Permanent Residence Eligibility:
Those who obtained QMAS to stay in Hong Kong are also eligible to apply for permanent residence status after having settled in Hong Kong for a continuous period of a minimum of seven years.
5. Employment Visa
This type of visa is open for foreigners who will be employed by a Hong Kong company and will be relocating to Hong Kong.
- It can only be applied for after the foreign national has secured valid employment with a Hong Kong company.
- Foreigners who have graduated from an academic institute in Hong Kong, or
- Foreigners who have graduated overseas with special skills, knowledge or experience that is not readily available in Hong Kong
The visa is normally valid for one year and is renewable.
6. Investment Visa
The Investment Visa is another form of Employment Visa that is meant for foreign entrepreneurs who intend to reside in Hong Kong to start their own business.
Under the Investment Visa, foreign entrepreneurs will reside in Hong Kong on employment status under their own company.
- Foreign entrepreneurs who intend to establish a business in Hong Kong
- Must have a good educational background or good technical qualifications, relevant professional abilities, achievements and experience.
- Must prove that the business will make a substantial contribution to the economy of Hong Kong.
The Investment Visa is normally valid for a year and is renewable.
- Permanent Residence EligibilityInvestment Visa holders are eligible to apply for permanent residence status after having settled in Hong Kong for a continuous period of a minimum of seven years.
7. Permanent Residence Visa
For those who have settled in Hong Kong for a continuous period of a minimum of seven years are eligible to apply for permanent residence status.
Whether you intend to invest, work, or employ staff in Hong Kong, our associated professional team of immigration experts can help you when applying for your visa or work permit.
Contact us today for more information.