Last Updated: March 13, 2021
Working in Hong Kong
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.
Hong Kong Work Visa
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 skills set that are not possessed by the 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. Most workers will fall under General Employment Policy (GEP) or Technology Talent Admission Scheme (TechTAS).
Eligibility Requirements to Apply for Work Permit (GEP)
- No security objection and proper documentation of a clean criminal record. The applicant must have no known record of serious crime.
- Exceptional educational background with a degree relevant to the job being applied to, however, additional technical qualifications, notable achievements, and experience may contribute to the applicant’s case.
- Research must be done to identify the job vacancies at a potential company in Hong Kong. Having proof of the same is also recommended.
- Employment job offer. The applicant must have proper proof that they have been offered employment by a local sponsor (the hiring company).
- 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).
- The company offering employment must prove with sufficient evidence that the vacancy is being filled by a foreign employee, only due to the unavailability of the required skills in the HKSAR workforce.
- Sufficient proof confirming that the employee will contribute positively towards improving Hong Kong's economy must be provided.
Documents Required for Hong Kong Work Permit
All documents that are not in English or Chinese must be accompanied by certified translation certificates.
Documents Required From the Employee:
Documents Required From the Employer:
- Completed copy of the Employment Visa application form
- Employment offer letter
- Passport with a minimum validity of 6 months
- 2-3 recent photographs
- Mark-sheets/report-cards, certificates, and other relevant documents
- Travel and Health Insurance
- Application form for the employment of foreign professionals in Hong Kong
- Photocopy of the employment contract that lists all the details about the employee's post, salary, benefits, and employment duration
- Photocopy of the company's registration with the Hong Kong government
- Financial information about the company
- Documents relevant to the company's work background (not applicable if the employee is being sponsored by the company)
Hong Kong Work Visa Must Knows
- Once all the required documents are ready, the complete application package must be submitted to the Hong Kong Immigration Department.
- If the visa has been approved it must be collected from the local Hong Kong consulate in-person.
- The work visa is valid for 1 year and may be renewed continuously as long as the employee continues to work for the company.
- Dependent visas must be obtained for any accompanying family members.
- In the case of switching to another job, the existing work visa becomes non-transferable, and the employee must obtain permission from the Immigration Department to apply for a new one.
- If an employee has been working and residing in Hong Kong for 7 years, they become qualified to apply for permanent residency.
There is no restriction on the number of work visas issued (no quota). Around 40,000 visas were issued in 2018 under GEP policy. As the visa processing may take around 4-8 weeks with possible further delays, applicants are encouraged to file their applications early to ensure a smooth visa journey.
How to Apply for a Hong Kong Work Visa
The following steps are described in order to describe the process by which an individual may apply for a regular Hong Kong work visa:
- The individual must download and fill out the relevant application form from the Hong Kong Immigration Department website. In the case of a GEP work visa, the required forms are ID 990A (to be filled in by the applicant) and ID 990B (to be filled in by the employing company).
- The applicant must then compile all of his/her required documents, which are listed in the 'Documents Required' sections in this article. These articles should either be in English or Chinese. In case they are in another language, they must be officially translated to the former.
- Then the applicant must then submit the visa application to one of either the Hong Kong Immigration Department or the nearest Chinese mission or consulate. In case the applicant is a foreign national and currently resides in the Chinese mainland, they can instead submit their application to the Immigration Division of the Office of the Hong Kong Government in Beijing.
- These applications must be either mailed or handed to the office in question in person. The applicant also has the choice to make their sponsor, in most cases the local employer, file the application on their behalf.
- The Hong Kong Immigration Department (HKID) will inform the applicant about their result. The duration of the approval period is subject to a variety of factors; however, it typically takes around 4 to 6 weeks from the date of submission.
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 with 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 are 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 above-mentioned company 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 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.
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 in accordance with 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:
- The applicant does not have a criminal record and 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.
Documents Needed for Dependent Visa
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.