Last Updated: January 31, 2024
Hong Kong Work Visa
Hong Kong is a beautiful country to work and live in, offering a satisfying abroad experience. Work visas are however difficult to obtain with many vacancies being filled by local immigrants and professionals. However, with the right set of qualifications and proper research, one can bag the opportunity to work and settle down in this diverse country.
The work permit issued to skilled foreign professionals comes under the Employment for Professionals
scheme of the country. There is no limit to the number of visas, and these permits are issued to individuals based on the assessment of their qualifications and specific skill sets that are not possessed by Hong Kong local citizens. So if someone is highly qualified and the country has a shortage of their specific skills, getting a work visa will not be an issue for them. There are multiple categories under which one (or their sponsor) can apply.
Types of Work Visas and Their Eligibility
Below is a list of visas that allow individuals to work in Hong Kong:
General Employment Policy (GEP)
Under this policy, individuals who have unique abilities, know-how, or experience that is valuable to Hong Kong but not readily available there can apply for this type of visa to work in the nation. The eligibility criteria for the policy are as follows:
- There are no known security concerns or significant criminal records about the applicant.
- Evidence of a strong educational background for the applicant, typically a first degree in the relevant field, but in certain cases, strong technical credentials, demonstrated professional skills, and/or relevant experience and accomplishments.
- A job offer that takes into account the applicant's skills and expertise is required.
- The remuneration provided by the company, including salary, accommodation, medical benefits, etc., to the applicant must not exceed the standards set by local professionals and the workforce in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).
Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals (ASMTP)
This policy is limited to Chinese Mainland residents only, but it is identical to GEP. The program is open to anyone with special skills, knowledge, or experience that is valuable to Hong Kong but not easily accessible there. The eligibility requirements are the same as those of GEP
Immigration Arrangements for Non-Local Graduates (IANG)
This program is open to recent or former non-local students who completed a full-time, locally accredited program leading to an undergraduate degree or higher, as well as graduates of the GBA campus.
Quality Migration Admission Scheme (QMAS)
To increase Hong Kong's economic competitiveness, this program is designed to attract highly skilled and talented individuals to relocate there. The qualified candidates may enter the nation without first obtaining a letter of employment offer from a local employer.
To receive points under either of the two point-based tests the General Points Test
or the Achievement-based Points Test
applicants must first meet a series of prerequisites. These prerequisites are as follows:
- The candidate must be above 18 years old.
- Throughout their stay in Hong Kong, the applicant must be able to show that they are self-sufficient and able to support and accommodate themselves without the need for government assistance.
- The candidate must not have a criminal history or a negative immigration history, either in Hong Kong or abroad.
- The candidate must speak and write Chinese or English fluently.
- The candidate needs to have a strong educational foundation, ideally with a first degree from an accredited university or other postsecondary institution.
Technology Talent Admission Scheme (TechTAS)
TechTAS is a fast-track arrangement to get talented non-local workers to HKSAR (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region). The sponsoring company has to apply for a quote and then the skilled professional has to submit credentials (Graduates from the top 100 Universities of the world may get extra preference). A company allotted a quota by the Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC) can accordingly sponsor a person they consider eligible to apply for an employment visa for a 12-month validity period. Eligibility for employment under TechTAS is favorably considered if:
- The company employing the applicant has a valid quota approved by the ITC, at the time of application.
- The applicant is employed by the company mentioned above in a full-time position in the HKSAR.
- The applicant is mainly engaged in one of the following areas of academic interest: artificial intelligence, biotechnology, cybersecurity, data analytics, financial technologies, material science, robotics, 5G communications, digital entertainment, green technology, integrated circuit design, Internet-of-Things or microelectronics.
- The applicant has qualifications from a STEM (science, technology, engineering, or mathematics) field, especially from a Top 100 university.
- The applicants with only a Bachelor's degree must have at least one year of experience. However, applicants with Master's or Doctoral degrees are not required to have any experience.
- The applicant meets the particulars pertaining to the position set by the ITC.
- The bona fides of the employing company and the applicant are not in doubt.
Top Talent Pass Scheme (TTPS)
The TTPS aims to draw top talent to Hong Kong who has a wealth of work experience and strong academic credentials. High earners and alumni from the best universities in the world
are among the elite talent. The following are the eligibility requirements for this scheme:
- Individuals earning HKD 2.5 million or more in the year prior to the application deadline.
- Degree holders from the best universities in the world with at least three years of experience during the five years prior to the application date.
- Degree holders from the best universities in the world with less than three years of experience are subject to an annual quota that will be distributed according to first-come, first-served priority.
Admission Scheme for the Second Generation of Chinese Hong Kong Permanent Residents (ASSG)
This scheme allows second-generation Chinese Hong Kong residents from overseas to return to work in Hong Kong. Citizens of Korea, Cuba, and Afghanistan are not eligible for this program. The eligibility criteria for this scheme are as follows:
- The applicant must be aged between 18 and 40.
- The candidate must be born overseas.
- At least one applicant's parent needs to have a current Hong Kong Permanent Identity Card.
- The applicant must have at least one Chinese parent who moved abroad at the time of the applicant's birth.
- They must have a good educational background.
- He/she must be proficient in English or Chinese.
- The applicant must provide proof of sufficient funds to support themselves in Hong Kong.
Enhanced Supplementary Labour Scheme (Formerly known as Supplementary Labour Scheme)
Through the Elementary Supplementary Labour Scheme, employers who are having trouble filling positions locally can import labor from outside of Hong Kong. Employers must first seek approval in principle from LD's Supplementary Labour Division. The following qualifying requirements must be met by the applicant:
- The employer of the applicant must hold a current approval-in-principle.
- The candidate must meet the requirements for the job in question in terms of qualifications and experience.
- The terms and conditions of employment must be commensurate with those in the local market.
- The candidate will continue to work directly for the same employer to carry out the specified duties for the specified job in the specific workplace(s) specified in the approval-in-principle letter.
- The candidate cannot have a history that would be detrimental to either the company or the applicant.
- The employer must be financially able to employ the applicant.
Sector-specific Labour Importation Schemes
This plan is similar to ESLS, with the exception that it only covers a few specific industries
. Employers that wish to import foreign labor because there is a shortage of domestic labor must first apply to the relevant departments or bureaus for quota(s). Citizens of Afghanistan, Cuba, Laos, Korea, Nepal, and Vietnam are not eligible for these schemes. The prerequisites are the same as for ESLS.
Special Scheme to Import Care Workers for Residential Care Homes
Through this program, which is run by the government's Social Welfare Department, operators of RCHs who are having trouble finding qualified caregivers locally can import caregivers from outside of Hong Kong. For quotas, the employer must work with the Contract Management Section.
Working Holiday Scheme
The purpose of this scheme is to promote educational and cultural exchanges between Hong Kong and the participating nations
. The applicant may accept a temporary job offer under this scheme while on vacation in Hong Kong.
Cost of Hong Kong Work Visa
The price of filing for a new work visa and requesting an extension of an existing one is HK$230. The Service charge for supplying, on application, a copy of any document, or for making or forwarding, or both, a request or recommendation to any authority of a foreign state, for consular or nationality registration or the issue or renewal of a passport or other travel document or of a document of identity or for the grant of a visa or entry permit is HK$260.
Steps to Apply for Hong Kong Work Visa
Ascertain the Appropriate Visa Program
The applicant must first select one of the visa schemes listed above based on the purpose of their visit to Hong Kong. The candidate must also confirm that they fulfill the requirements for the program they select.
Gathering the Documents and Beginning the Application Process
The documentation needed may change depending on their home country and the kind of scheme the applicant wishes to apply for. The documents listed below do not apply to every type of visa scheme. It is advised that applicants review the specific requirements for the visa program they have chosen.
- Completed and signed application form by applicant
- Completed and signed application form by employer
- Recent passport-size photograph
- A valid passport or travel document
- Applicant's Hong Kong identity card (if any)
- Official transcript of academic records, graduation letter, or supporting letter from their institute
- Proof of previous work experience
- Proof of applicant's annual income or financial resources
- Letter of consent from applicant's present employer
- Job offer letter
- Employment contract
- Business's Certificate of Registration
- Letter of Quota allotment
- Proof of Language proficiency
- Parent's Hong Kong Permanent Identity card and parent's marriage certificate (if applicable)
- Employer's license of residential care for elderly or persons with disabilities
- Proof of non-local driving license
- Employer's passenger service license
- Completed and signed ESLS-11 form (for ESLS)
- Approval-in-principle letter issued to the employer
- Notification for application for replacement of imported worker
Upon obtaining the necessary paperwork, candidates can start the visa application process. The application form must be filled out and signed by the applicant and sent to the Hong Kong Immigration Department, Hong Kong Embassy, or Consular by mail or in person. They also need to pay the necessary fee when applying.
Waiting for the Decision
The candidate must wait for the Hong Kong Immigration Department's decision after submitting their application. It could take four to eight weeks to receive the decision. Depending on the kind of scheme they have applied for, it might take even longer. Following acceptance of the application, the candidate can book a flight to Hong Kong.
Renewing the Work Visa
If a person's job contract in Hong Kong is longer than the duration of the visa that was initially issued, they can extend it. They have to apply for a visa extension roughly four weeks prior to the visa's expiration date. The procedure for renewing a visa is fairly easy. Before applying for an extension, the candidate must determine if they qualify. These requirements for eligibility might change depending on the program they work for. After that, they must gather the necessary paperwork and deliver it, together with the necessary fees, to the Immigration Department.
If an employee wishes to change companies, they must obtain approval from the Immigration Department by submitting an Application for Change of Employment.
Documents Required for Visa Renewal Application:
- Hong Kong identity card
- A valid passport
- Proof of applicant having annual income of HK$2 million in the previous tax assessment year
- Employment contract
- Supporting letter from employer to confirm continuous employment
- Additional documents that may be required by the Immigration Department according to the visa scheme
Hong Kong Visa for Dependents
Individuals who have been approved for a work visa under the GEP have the option to bring their spouse and/or their children to Hong Kong under their dependent policy. People who have a work visa or have applied for the same will have to be the sponsor of their dependents.
- A spouse is generally defined within the following parameters, a same-sex civil partnership, same-sex civil union, same-sex marriage, opposite-sex civil partnership, or opposite-sex civil union entered into by the work visa holder. This partnership or union must be by the law of the area where it was originally officiated and must be legally and officially recognized by that area.
- Children of the work visa holder should be unmarried and under 18 years of age to be eligible for a dependent visa.
The following factors may favor the dependent applicants:
Documents Needed for Dependent Visa
- The applicant does not have a criminal record or any other history which may be to the detriment of their character.
- Concrete proof of a genuine relationship between the applicant and the visa holder/sponsor.
- Proof of financial income which demonstrates that the sponsor is fully able to economically and financially support the dependents and provide proper accommodation for them.
The application process requires the applicant to have the following documents:
- A passport-sized photograph, preferably one taken recently.
- A photocopy of the applicant’s and the sponsor’s respective passports.
- A photocopy of the sponsor’s Hong Kong ID.
- A document that proves the applicant’s relationship with the sponsor and a photocopy of the same. In the case of a spouse, a marriage certificate will be needed and in case the dependents are children, the required document will be their birth certificate.
- Proof of the sponsor’s financial situation, allowing them to financially support the applicant.
- Photocopies of bank statements or tax receipts are accepted as valid proof.
- Proof of applicant’s housing situation. This is generally shown through photocopies of rent agreements or rental receipts.
Some Things to Remember
- Translations into Chinese or English are required for all of the documents.
- A translation that has been affirmed as accurate by a sworn translator, court translator, authorized public translator, certified translator, expert translator, or official must be included with any document that is not in Chinese or English.
- Individuals who are outside of the nation and are unable to return to Hong Kong before their visa expires are not eligible to apply for a visa extension or renewal.