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Employment Visas

Updated: Jan 6, 2022

How do I get a work visa for Hong Kong? Do you need a visa to work in Hong Kong? How long does HK work visa take?

Entry arrangement for persons who wish to enter/stay in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) for employment as professionals

Applicants who possess special skills, knowledge or experience of value to and not readily available in the HKSAR may apply to come to work under the GEP.

The GEP is quota-free and non-sector specific.

This entry arrangement does not apply to:

  1. Chinese residents of the Mainland; and

  2. nationals of Afghanistan, Cuba, Laos, Korea (Democratic People's Republic of), Nepal and Vietnam.

Eligibility Criteria

An application for a visa / entry permit to take up employment under the GEP may be favourably considered if:

  1. there is no security objection and no known record of serious crime in respect of the applicant;

  2. the applicant has a good education background, normally a first degree in the relevant field, but in special circumstances, good technical qualifications, proven professional abilities and/or relevant experience and achievements supported by documentary evidence may also be accepted;

  3. there is a genuine job vacancy;

  4. the applicant has a confirmed offer of employment and is employed in a job relevant to his academic qualifications or work experience that cannot be readily taken up by the local work force; and

  5. the remuneration package including income, accommodation, medical and other fringe benefits is broadly commensurate with the prevailing market level for professionals in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).

Overseas Chinese nationals holding People's Republic of China passports who meet the criteria stipulated above and normal immigration requirements may apply to enter the HKSAR for employment under the GEP if:

  1. the applicant has permanent residence overseas; or

  2. the applicant has been residing overseas for at least one year immediately before the submission of application ["overseas" means countries or territories outside the Mainland, the HKSAR and the Macao Special Administrative Region] and that the application is submitted from overseas.

In general, unless a person has the right of abode or right to land in the HKSAR, he/she requires a visa/entry permit to work in the HKSAR. While each application is determined on its individual merits, an applicant should meet normal immigration requirements (such as holding a valid travel document with adequate returnability to his/her country of residence or citizenship; be of clear criminal record and raise no security or criminal concerns to the HKSAR; have no likelihood of becoming a burden on the HKSAR, etc.) as well as the relevant specific eligibility criteria detailed above before he/she may be considered for the grant of a visa/entry permit.

Entry of Dependents

Applicants admitted under the GEP may apply to bring in their spouse or the other party to a same-sex civil partnership, same-sex civil union, “same-sex marriage”, opposite-sex civil partnership or opposite-sex civil union entered into by him/her in accordance with the local law in force of the place of celebration and with such status being legally and officially recognised by the local authorities of the place of celebration and unmarried dependent children under the age of 18 to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) under the prevailing dependent policy. Persons admitted or applying for admission under the GEP will be the sponsors of their accompanying dependents to the HKSAR. An application for admission of a dependent may be favourably considered if normal immigration requirements and the following criteria are met:

  1. there is reasonable proof of a genuine relationship between the dependent and the sponsor;

  2. there is no known record to the detriment of the dependent; and

  3. the sponsor is able to support the dependent's living at a standard well above the subsistence level and provide him/her with suitable accommodation in the HKSAR.

This entry arrangement does not apply to:

  1. former Mainland Chinese residents residing in the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) who have obtained Macao identity cards for less than seven years, unless they have acquired residence in the Macao SAR through the One-way Permit Scheme; and

  2. nationals of Afghanistan and Korea (Democratic People's Republic of).

The length of stay of such dependents will normally be linked to that of their sponsors. Any subsequent applications for extension of stay will be considered only when the applicant continues to meet the eligibility criteria for entry for residence as dependents and the sponsor remains a bona fide Hong Kong resident living in the HKSAR. These dependents are not prohibited from taking up employment or studies in the HKSAR under the existing policy.

The terms “civil partnership” and “civil union” above mean a legal institution of a nature which is akin to spousal relationship in a marriage. The same-sex civil partnership, same-sex civil union, “same-sex marriage”, opposite-sex civil partnership and opposite-sex civil union entered into in accordance with laws outside Hong Kong are limited to only relationships which are legally and officially recognised in the places of celebration. Such relationships normally have the following features: (a) the entering into and dissolution of the relationship are governed by legislation of the place where it is entered into; (b) the relationship requires registration by the competent authority specified by the legislation of the place where it is entered into; (c) the registration is evidenced in a written instrument issued by the competent authority; and (d) parties to the relationship have a mutual commitment to a shared life akin to spouses to the exclusion of others on a permanent basis. Such relationships do not include de facto spouse, partners in cohabitation, fiancé/fiancée, etc.

Processing Time

It normally takes four weeks to process visa/entry permit applications for employment upon receipt of all the required documents. The Immigration Department will not be able to start processing the application unless all the required documents and information have been received.

All applications are processed and determined by the Immigration Department. Approval of applications is entirely discretionary and is subject to changes in government policies. The Director of Immigration reserves absolute discretion to refuse any application even if the application meets all eligibility criteria.

If you would like to know more, please contact Bestar.

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