Hong Kong Visa: Obtaining Employment in Hong Kong
Hong Kong visa schemes are categorized by their nature. Specifically, Hong Kong recognizes that visas may be used for the purposes of employment, investment, starting a business and other work-related purposes. With Hong Kong as a popular destination for international professionals and their families we look to explore how these individuals can utilize the various visa schemes structured for them.
1. Employment VisaEmployment Visas are granted to individuals under the General Employment Policy (“GEP”) scheme and are provided to individuals who intend to reside in Hong Kong, be employed by a Hong Kong company and are typically granted within four weeks upon the Hong Kong authorities receipt of all required application documents. The GEP is non-sector specific with no limits regarding the number of Employment Visas a Hong Kong company can apply for. However, the application process can only begin once an individual has secured employment with a Hong Kong company. Unlike other visa schemes, GEP does not maintain a quota system. All applications will be reviewed on a case by case basis. Generally, Mainland Chinese residents and nationals of Afghanistan, Cuba, Laos, North Korea, Nepal, and Vietnam are not eligible to apply for visas under the GEP scheme. Nonetheless, Mainland Chinese residents can apply under certain circumstances to be discussed further below.
1.1. Eligibility RequirementsTo be eligible for a visa under GEP, an applicant must be able to pass various background checks. Applicants must provide documentation to Hong Kong authorities to demonstrate their education, presence of a genuine job vacancy and whether the applicant has a confirmed offer of employment for a job relevant to their academic qualifications. Other factors that will be scrutinized in a GEP application include the remuneration package offered to the applicant. This is done so to determine whether the value of the remuneration package is in line with the prevailing market rate for other local professionals in similar fields. As previously mentioned, Mainland Chinese residents are not eligible to apply for visas under GEP unless they meet certain criteria. Overseas Chinese nationals holding Chinese passports may apply to the GEP scheme if they are able to demonstrate that they have a permanent residence overseas, or that they have been residing overseas for at least one year immediately before the submission of the application. Under the scope of GEP, overseas is defined as any country or territory outside of Mainland China, Hong Kong or Macau. Furthermore, the application must be submitted from an overseas address.
1.2. Other considerationsApplicants who have successfully obtained a visa under GEP may also apply to bring their spouse to Hong Kong. Eligibility for this scheme is determined by an applicant’s ability to demonstrate that there is a genuine relationship between the two parties and that the applicant is able to support their dependents’ life in Hong Kong. A dependent’s visa and their length of stay will normally be linked to their sponsor, in this case, the original applicant.
2. Dependent VisaDependent Visas are designed for immediate family members of foreign nationals who hold a valid Hong Kong visa. In other words, these visas are essentially relocation visas with the respective application process requiring approximately six weeks to complete.
2.1. Eligibility RequirementsDependent visas are only granted to the immediate family members of foreign nationals who were granted a Hong Kong visa for the purposes of employment, investment, training or study in Hong Kong. They are also granted to the immediate family members of permanent Hong Kong residents. To apply for a dependent visa, applicants must fulfill meet the following conditions:
- Must provide reasonable proof of a genuine relationship between the applicant and the sponsor
- There should not be a known record that is detrimental to the applicant
- The sponsor must demonstrate that they can substantially support their dependents and provide suitable accommodation during their stay in Hong Kong
2.2. Other considerationsWe recognize that oftentimes, visa applicants are applying from abroad. In such situations, relevant documents should be submitted in person to the local Chinese Embassy or Consulate in the applicant’s respective country. Dependents should not be concerned about their employment status as they are also eligible to take up employment in Hong Kong if they meet the following criteria:
- Their sponsor is a Hong Kong permanent resident
- Their sponsor is not subject to a limit of stay
- They have obtained an employment contract
- They are an Entrant under the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme or the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme