Hong Kong immigration guide.

This Hong Kong immigration guide provides an overview of the different visa, criteria and stay duration. There are a variety of visas and passes for foreigners and their family members who wish to stay in Hong Kong, including visas for employment, investment, training and permanent residence.

Hong Kong immigration guide

Contents


Share this article

Employment/investment

General employment policy (GEP) – Work visa

General Employment Policy is suitable for the entry of those who want to stay in Hong Kong for employment as professionals. The GEP is non-sector specific, so those who have special skills, knowledge or experience that is not available in Hong Kong may apply to work under the GEP.

This entry does not apply to:

  • Mainland China residents
  • Nationals of Afghanistan, Cuba, Laos, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Nepal and Vietnam.

Eligible criteria

You will be eligible to apply for the GEP if you meet the following requirements:

  • No security objection or records of serious crimes
  • Have a good education background supported by documentary evidence
  • Have a job offer
  • The applicant has confirmed the offer and will be employed in a job relevant to qualifications or work experience that cannot be fulfilled by locals
  • The remuneration package is in accordance with the current market level

Overseas Chinese nationals holding a People’s Republic of China passport who meet the requirements as stated above may apply for the GEP if:

  • The candidate has a permanent residence overseas
  • The candidate has been living abroad for at least one year

Processing time

Approximately four weeks

Stay duration

  • Allowed to stay for 24 months, or the length of the employment contract if shorter than 24 months
  • Must be renewed within four weeks before the limitation expires

Passes for family

Dependant pass for:

  • His/her spouse
  • Unmarried children under the age 18

Criteria to be met:

  • There is proof of a relationship between the dependant and sponsor
  • No record of detriment of the dependant
  • The sponsor can support the dependant’s living and provide him/her with accommodation

Right to abode

Individuals under the GEP who have stayed in Hong Kong for not less than seven years may apply for the right to abode.

Admission scheme for mainland talents and professionals (ASMTP)

Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals is for Mainland China residents who want to stay in Hong Kong for employment as professionals.

The ASMTP does not apply to a specific sector, and Chinese residents of the Mainland who have special skills, knowledge or experience not available in Hong Kong may apply.

Eligible criteria

A candidate who applies for an ASMTP may be considered if:

  • No security objection or criminal records
  • Have a good education background supported by documentary evidence
  • Have a job offer
  • The applicant has confirmed the offer and will be employed in a job relevant to qualifications or work experience that cannot be taken up by locals
  • The remuneration package is in accordance with the current market level

Processing time

Approximately four weeks

Stay duration

  • Allowed to stay for 24 months, or the length of the employment contract if shorter than 24 months
  • Must be renewed within four weeks before the limitation expires

Passes for family

Dependant pass for:

  • His/her spouse
  • Unmarried children under the age 18

Criteria to be met:

  • Must have proof of relationship between the dependant and sponsor
  • No record of detriment of the dependant
  • Sponsor can support the dependant’s living and provide him/her with accommodation in Hong Kong

The entry does not apply to:

  • Former Mainland Chinese residents living in Macao who have Macao identity cards for less than seven years.

Right to abode

Individuals under the ASMTP who have stayed in Hong Kong for not less than seven years may apply for the right to abode.

Technology talent admission scheme (TechTas)

This permit applies to companies who want non-local technology talent to engage in research and development (R&D) roles for them in Hong Kong.

The company would first have to apply for a quota, and once the company received a quota from the Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC), the company can sponsor a person suitable for the employment within the 12-month quota period. This pass does not apply to nationals of Afghanistan, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Laos, Nepal and Vietnam.

Eligible criteria

A candidate will be able to apply for the TechTas if the candidate has:

  • No record of serious crimes or security objections
  • The employing company has a quota approved by the ITC by the time of applying
  • The candidate will be a full-time employee in the employing company
  • Offered with a remuneration not lower than the current market level for similar job
  • The candidate has previous experience in conducting R&D in artificial intelligence, biotechnology, cybersecurity, data analytics, digital, entertainment, financial technologies, green technology, integrated circuit design, Internet-of-Things, material science, microelectronics, robotics and 5G communications
  • Holds a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) degree from a well-known university among the top 100 university ranking for STEM-related subjects from the following publications:

    Quacquarelli Symonds

    • Engineering and technology
    • Life sciences and medicine
    • Natural sciences

    Shanghai Jiao Tong University (Shanghai Ranking)

    • Life and agriculture sciences
    • Natural sciences and mathematics
    • Engineering/technology and computer sciences
    • Clinical medicine and pharmacy

    Times Higher Education

    • Engineering and technology
    • Computer science
    • Life sciences
    • Physical sciences
    • Clinical, pre-clinical and health

Processing time

Approximately two weeks

Stay duration

  • Allowed to stay for 24 months, or the length of the employment contract if shorter than 24 months
  • Must be renewed within four weeks before the limitation expires

Passes for family

Dependant pass for:

  • His/her spouse
  • Unmarried children under the age 18

Criteria to be met:

  • Must have proof of relationship between the dependant and sponsor
  • No record of detriment of the dependant
  • Sponsor can support the dependant’s living and provide him/her with accommodation in Hong Kong

The entry does not apply to:

  • Former Mainland Chinese residents living in Macao who have Macao identity cards for less than seven years

Right to abode

Individuals under the TechTas who have stayed in Hong Kong for not less than seven years may apply for the right to abode.

Investment as entrepreneurs scheme – Investment visa

Those who are seeking to establish or join a business in Hong Kong may apply for the investment visa.

This permit is not eligible for:

  • Chinese residents of Mainland China
  • Nationals of Afghanistan, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Laos, Nepal and Vietnam

Eligible criteria

The application to enter Hong Kong through the Investment as Entrepreneur Scheme may be considered if:

  • The applicant has no criminal records
  • The applicant has a good education background with supporting documents as proof
  • The applicant can contribute to the Hong Kong economy with factors taken into consideration including:
    1. Business plan
    2. Business turnover
    3. Financial resources
    4. Investment sum
    5. Number of jobs created locally
    6. Introduction of new technology or skills

Those who want to set up or join a startup may also apply for the Investment as Entrepreneurs Scheme.

Processing time

Approximately four weeks

Stay duration

  • Allowed to stay for 24 months, or the length of the employment contract if shorter than 24 months
  • Must be renewed within four weeks before the limitation expires

Passes for family

Dependant pass for:

  • His/her spouse; and
  • Unmarried children under the age of 18.

Right to abode

Individuals who have applied for investment and stayed in Hong Kong for not less than seven years may apply for the right to abode.

Imported workers

This scheme is suitable for individuals who wish to enter Hong Kong under the Supplementary Labour Scheme for employment. This scheme allows employers or companies with difficulties to find local employees that are suitable for the work scope to be able to import workers from outside of Hong Kong.

This scheme does not allow imported workers to bring their dependants, and does not apply to nationals of Afghanistan, Cuba, Laos, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Nepal and Vietnam.

Eligible criteria

To be eligible for this entry, the worker must fulfil the following requirements:

  • The imported worker is suitable and qualified for the job position
  • Employment terms and conditions are similar to the local market
  • The applicant will only work for the employer and not work out of contract
  • No adverse records that damages the applicant and employer
  • he employer is financially able to employ the applicant, provide the applicant with accommodation and repatriation once the contract has ended

Processing time

Approximately six weeks

Stay duration

  • The worker may apply for an extension of stay four weeks before the expiration date as stated in the employment contract

Levy

  • Employers must pay a levy to the Employees Retraining Board
  • Levy payable in a lump sum for each imported worker is HKD400 multiplied by the number of months covered by the employment contract up to a maximum of 24 months

Training

The training visa is suitable for those who want to enter Hong Kong to receive skill training related to their current work field.

This pass is not eligible for those who are:

  • Mainland China residents
  • Nationals from Afghanistan, Cuba, Laos, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Nepal

Eligible criteria

Individuals who are eligible to apply for the training entry must meet the following requirements:

  • No criminal records or security objection
  • The sponsoring company is a well-established company
  • A contract between the sponsor and applicant is signed
  • Justification of duration and content of training programme

Processing time

Approximately four weeks

Stay duration

Maximum 12 months

Passes for family

Dependant pass for:

  • His/her spouse
  • Unmarried children under the age of 18

Residence

Quality migrant admission scheme (QMAS)

Those who are skilled individuals and wish to stay in Hong Kong to build their career in Hong Kong may apply for this scheme. To enter Hong Kong under the QMAS scheme, you must fulfil the prerequisites, pass a point-based test and compete for the quota.

Eligible criteria

Applicants must satisfy the following prerequisites:

  • Must be 18 years old or above to apply
  • You must be able to show that you are able to support and accommodate yourself and your dependants
  • You must not have any criminal records
  • You must be fluent in Chinese (Cantonese or Putonghua) or English
  • You must have a good educational background and have documentary evidence

Those who fulfil the prerequisites must pass either the General Points Test or Achievement-based Points Test.

Processing time

Approximately 15 days

Stay duration

Those who entered through the General Points Test can stay for 24 months

Those who entered through the Achievement-based Points Test can stay for eight years

    

Passes for family

Dependant pass for:

  • His/her spouse
  • Unmarried children under the age of 18

Dependant visa

A dependant visa is for the family members of an individual who holds a Hong Kong visa for employment, investment, training or are permanent residents in Hong Kong. The dependant is permitted to stay in Hong Kong for the same period as the sponsor’s stay.

Eligible criteria

Sponsors who are a Hong Kong permanent resident:

  • Spouse
  • Unmarried children under the age of 18 (legally adopted included)
  • Parents aged 60 or above

Sponsors who hold a visa for employment, investment or training:

  • Spouse
  • Unmarried children under 18 years old

Processing time

Approximately six weeks

Stay duration

  • Can apply for renewal at least four weeks before the stay limit expires

Once the renewal is approved:

  • Dependants of Hong Kong residents will follow the 3-3 years pattern for spouse and unmarried children. Parents ages 60 and above will follow the 2-2-3 years pattern.
  • Dependants of those who hold an employment visa or under the CIES or QMAS will be granted to stay the same duration as their sponsors

Right to abode

Dependants who have stayed in Hong Kong for not less than seven years may apply for the right to abode.

Conclusion

Every year a high number of people travel to Hong Kong for business and residence because of the many pull factors including high quality of life, career opportunities, ease of starting a business and low tax rates that are offered to residing foreigners and international investors.

Hong Kong has introduced immigration programmes that support these pull factors through schemes and policies to welcome individuals who desire to enter Hong Kong. If you are interested in migrating to Hong Kong, allow Acclime to support you through the process.

Acclime Hong Kong

A complete suite of premier corporate services in Hong Kong


Other immigration articles.

Need immigration support in Hong Kong?

Get a free 30-minute consultation on operating and growing your business in Hong Kong.


© Acclime Hong Kong 2020 | Privacy policy