If you intend to work in Hong Kong, but are not a Hong Kong national, you will need to secure the correct visa. This article provides guidance on Hong Kong work visa requirements, and what you need to do to ensure you obtain the right one for you.
Hong Kong Work Visa Requirements
If you are applying for a visa under the General Employment Policy, which is often the case for skilled foreign professionals, your application will need to be sponsored by your new employer. Therefore, the most difficult part of getting a Hong Kong work visa is often securing the job in the first place. Once secured, the visa will be granted if you meet the following requirements:
- You do not have any criminal background or pose any other security concerns;
- You have a graduate degree and enough relevant experience for the position you have been offered, or, for those without a graduate degree, a significant amount of specialised technical experience may be enough;
- Your salary is comparable with local standards;
- You will be contributing to the local economy; and
- Your company can prove that they have found no local candidate who can fill this position, or that you have a skill which is recognized as being in short supply in Hong Kong.
If you secure a Hong Kong work visa under the General Employment Policy, you may bring your spouse and children under 18 with you without the need to apply for any additional visas. Your spouse may also work without requiring an additional visa.
Other Routes to Working in Hong Kong
In addition to the visa available under the General Employment Policy, there are a wide variety of schemes and programmes available that you may be able to utilize to secure a visa. The full Government guidelines are available here, but some of the most widely used schemes include:
Quality Migrant Admission Scheme
This scheme offers a fixed number of places to highly skilled or talented applicants, for example those in the financial, legal, IT or creative sectors. If you are applying for visa under this scheme, you do not need an existing job offer in advance to be eligible.
The main requirement for obtaining a self-employed visa is establishing that your business makes a substantial contribution to the economy. However, this visa is not available to residents of P.R China and nationals of Afghanistan, Cambodia, Cuba, Laos, Nepal, N. Korea, or Vietnam.
Immigration Arrangements for Non-Local Graduates
If you have obtained a degree in Hong Kong, you may use this scheme to apply to stay in the city for up to six months after your graduation, with a subsequent extension of up to one year, giving you the opportunity to look for employment. Once you have secured a job offer, you will be able to apply for a visa and be sponsored by your new employer.
Other Employment Schemes
There are additional employment schemes designed for specific circumstances which may be suitable for you, for example for citizens from the Mainland China, foreign domestic helpers, and low-skilled workers. In addition, there are separate visa categories for training, or for working holidays.
Capital Investment Entrant Scheme
To be eligible for this visa, a high investment (at least 6.5m HKD) in Hong Kong’s market must be made prior to or right after the visa is granted.
What Else Do You Need to Know?
An average application can take around eight weeks to process. However, this processing time will only start once all required documents have been provided. You should therefore allow for extra time in case the immigration authorities request additional documents.
Extending your Visa
You can usually apply for an extension of your stay before your visa expires. If you have a Hong Kong work visa, make sure that you apply at least four weeks before the expiration date, but preferably give yourself more time in case there are any delays.
Starting a new job while in Hong Kong
If you are moving to a new job, you will need to restart the visa application process with your new employer as sponsor. Your former employer will need to inform the authorities about your move, and you will not be able to start the new job until your new visa is processed.
How INS Global Can Help you
Obtaining a Hong Kong work visa can be difficult to navigate for those not familiar with the system. At INS Global, we can help you or your employees obtain the correct visa. Our knowledge streamlines the process, helping you to avoid unnecessary delays. In addition, as a Professional Employer Organisation INS Global are uniquely positioned to assist with any recruitment needs you have, from recruitment to payroll, simplifying the employment process so that you can focus on your core business. Contact us today to see how we could help you.