Working in Hong Kong has always been an attractive prospect for professionals – the city has numerous professional opportunities and is consistently recognised as a major international economic hub. While there are many factors that facilitate Hong Kong’s popularity, a key attribute is Hong Kong’s straight forward immigration policy and application processes. In this article, we look to provide an introductory guide to acquiring a Hong Kong work visa.
What You Will Learn:
- The different types of Hong Kong work visa
- The typical processing steps of a Hong Kong work visa application
- How long it takes to process a Hong Kong work visa application
- General documents required
- Eligibility criteria
- Other considerations
- Why you should hire a professional service firm
1. The Different Types of Hong Kong Work Visas
There are various types of work visas available to foreigners. While each type of Hong Kong work visa is catered to different people in varying circumstances, they must be obtained when work is to be performed in Hong Kong. This principle applies regardless of the duration of stay, even if an individual will only work in Hong Kong for one day.
General Employment Visa
General Employment Visas are provided to individuals who are looking to live in Hong Kong and be employed by a Hong Kong company. This scheme is non-sector specific with no limits on how many General Employment Visas a Hong Kong company can apply for. However, an applicant can only begin the application process for obtaining a General Employment Visa once they have secured employment with a Hong Kong company.
An Investment Visa is a type of Hong Kong work visa for foreign entrepreneurs who are owners of Hong Kong companies. This visa is not sector-specific and is generally issued for one-year periods and is renewable as long as the applicant’s Hong Kong business remains viable. Applications will largely be examined to see whether the applicant’s company will create jobs for Hong Kong’s workforce, and the likelihood that their business will engage the services of other Hong Kong companies.
Technology Talent Admission Scheme (“TechTAS”)
TechTAS is a three-year program designed for overseas and Mainland Chinese technology talent. This visa scheme is structured on a quota basis and provides a fast-track arrangement for eligible technology companies and institutions to admit these qualifying individuals for the purpose of conducting research and development.
Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals (“ASMTP”)
The goal of ASMTP is to attract qualified Mainland Chinese talents and professionals to work in Hong Kong. Specifically, the intention is to help Hong Kong meet its local manpower needs and increase the city’s global competitiveness by providing Hong Kong work visas to individuals who possess skills, knowledge or experience that is not readily available or in shortage in Hong Kong.
Immigration Arrangement for Non-local Graduates (“IANG”)
IANG is a scheme aimed to encourage non-local university graduates to stay in Hong Kong and work as professionals. Under IANG, any non-local student who has obtained a degree or higher qualification from a full-time, locally accredited university program in Hong Kong can apply for a Hong Kong work visa that will let them stay or return to work in Hong Kong through this program.
2. Hong Kong Work Visa Processing Steps
Largely speaking, the processing steps for the above listed Hong Kong work visa schemes are identical. Once a visa application has been submitted, the Hong Kong Immigration Department will review the application and request additional information and / or supporting documentation as necessary. Upon approving an application, the Hong Kong Immigration Department will issue a visa / entry permit label which must be collected in-person by the applicant or an authorised representative.
This permit must be affixed on a blank page of the applicant’s passport and should be presented to an Immigration Officer upon the applicant’s arrival in Hong Kong.
3. Hong Kong Work Visa Processing Timeframe
It normally takes four to six weeks for the Hong Kong Immigration Department to process an employment visa application upon receipt of all required information and documentation. This process cannot begin until the Hong Kong Immigration Department is satisfied with the quality of information provided.
4. General Documents Required
While the documents required for each scheme will vary, the following information is required for each scheme:
- Completed visa application forms
- Identification documents
- Residence proof
- Academic certifications
- Proof of employment
Those applying for a Hong Kong work visa while abroad should submit their required documents to their nearest Chinese diplomatic and consular missions in their place of domicile. They may also submit these documents directly to the Hong Kong Immigration Department.
5. Eligibility Criteria
Although the eligibility criteria for each visa scheme will vary, the following aspects of each applicant are relevant to all schemes and will be closely examined by the Hong Kong Immigration Department when approving each work visa application:
- Whether the applicant has a good education background, good technical qualifications, proven professional abilities / relevant experience and achievements supported by documentary evidence
- The business the applicant will undertake can be considered beneficial to the Hong Kong economy, industry and trade
- The employment of the applicant is essential to the Hong Kong business
- The position cannot be easily taken up by the local Hong Kong workforce
- The remuneration package of the applicant is broadly in line with the prevailing Hong Kong market level
- There is no security objection and no known record of serious crimes in respect of the applicant
6. Other Considerations
Many different Hong Kong work visa schemes will have their own unique eligibility requirements or application processes. Therefore, to maximize your chances of getting your application accepted, it is best to refer to engage a professional service firm.
7. Why You Should Hire a Professional Service Provider
If the application is rejected, subsequent application submissions will become increasingly difficult to obtain approval. In other words, the highest chance of having a successful application is during the initial submission. Luckily, engaging a professional service provider can increase the likelihood that an application is approved.
How Can FastLane Help
As a professional service provider, the FastLane Group is experienced in handling various Hong Kong work visa processes. FastLane can help prepare your application and submit it on your behalf and advise on how the Hong Kong Immigration Department will interpret your visa application. Most importantly, because many Hong Kong work visa applicants are not in Hong Kong during their application process, having a local Hong Kong professional service firm to act as your local sponsor can help greatly in this process.
Not only can FastLane submit your Hong Kong work visa application on your behalf, but we can also handle subsequent steps such as liaising with the Hong Kong Immigration Department to handle any issues as they arise!