Guide to Hong Kong Visa for Employees (Employment Visa)
Hong Kong has a special work permit scheme for hiring skilled foreign employees called Employment for Professionals. Eligible applicants must have good educational qualifications and possess special skills, knowledge or experience of value to and not readily available in the Hong Kong. There is no quota system limiting the number of work visas under this scheme. Each application is assessed based on the qualifications of the applicant and the employing company. This type of work permit is normally issued for one year period initially and renewable thereafter.
This article provides details about eligibility requirements, application procedure, processing timeline, and other relevant information about employment for professionals work permit scheme. If you are an entrepreneur who wishes to relocate to Hong Kong to start your own business, you should refer to our Guide to Hong Kong's Entrepreneur Visa instead. For an overview of the various available migration schemes, refer to our Guide to Hong Kong Visa Schemes.
1. Eligibility Criteria
In order to apply for work permit under the employment for professionals scheme, the following eligibility requirements apply:
- You should not have any criminal records or security objections.
- You must possess a good educational background. Normally it is preferable to have at least an undergraduate degree in the relevant field. However, in the absence of such a degree, documentary evidence of good technical qualifications, relevant professional abilities, achievements and experience may suffice.
- There is a genuine job vacancy at the employing company.
- You have secured a confirmed employment offer and the job matches your academic qualifications or working experience and that the job cannot be readily taken up by the local work force.
- The remuneration package including income, accommodation, medical and other fringe benefits is in line with the prevailing market standards in Hong Kong.
2. Documents Needed
Documents required from the work permit applicant:
- Completed Employment Visa Application Form
- A copy of the personal particulars page of your passport. If you are currently staying in Hong Kong, a copy of your passport page containing the latest arrival stamp/extension of stay label in Hong Kong.
- A copy of your Hong Kong identity card (if any)
- A copy of proof of your overseas residence
- A copy of proof of academic qualifications and relevant working experience
Documents required from the employing company:
- Application for Employing Professionals in Hong Kong
- A copy of the company's employment contract or letter of appointment containing information about your post, salaries, other fringe benefits and employment periods
- A copy of the company's Business Registration Certificate
- A copy of proof of financial standing of the company such as latest audited financial report, trading profit and loss account, or profit tax return
- Documents detailing the company’s background such as business activities, mode of operation, background/ connection of company, product ranges, sources and markets, membership of Chamber of Commerce (if any), etc. with documentary evidence such as catalogues, brochures, etc. (this is not required if the company is sponsoring a non-local graduate)
- If the employing company is a newely setup company within the last 12 months:
- Detailed business plan such as information on source of funds, estimated capital injection, nature/mode of business activities, expected turnover, sales volume, gross and net profit in the coming years, and proposed creation of local job posts, etc.
Note: the above mentioned company documents (except for the application form for employing professionals) need not be submitted by the employing company if it had successfully obtained an employment or training visa/entry permit for a non-local staff in the past 18 months immediately before submission of the application.
All documents submitted must be in English or Chinese or translated into English or Chinese by a certified translation body. The Immigration authorities reserve the right to demand further documents from the applicant or employing company as and when necessary.
3. Hong Kong Employment Visa Applicatiopn Procedures and Timeline
Once both the applicant and the employer have prepared the necessary documents required for the work permit application, the application must be submitted to the Hong Kong Immigration Department via post. The processing of work visa application takes about 4-6 weeks.
If the application is successful, the Immigration Department will issue a Visa/Entry Permit label which must be collected from the immigration office in-person by the applicant or an authorized representative. The Visa/Entry Permit label must be affixed on a blank visa page of the applicant’s passport and presented to the Immigration Officer upon arrival in Hong Kong. Most work permit visas issued initially are valid for one-year period.
In case the work permit application is rejected, an appeal can be filed with authorities.
4. Dependant Visa for Family
Applicants under this work permit scheme are eligible to bring their family members (spouse and unmarried dependent children under 18 years of age to Hong Kong) with them to Hong Kong. A dependant visa application must be filed for each family member for this purpose. The dependant’s length of stay is tied to the applicant’s length of stay in Hong Kong and dependant visa holders are free to take up employment or study in Hong Kong, as applicable. For further details on dependent visa, refer to our Guide to Hong Kong Family Visa (Dependant Visa).
5. Hong Kong Employment Visa Renewal
Work permit holders can apply for renewal by filing the renewal application at least four weeks before the limit of stay expires. The renewal application will be considered only if the applicant continues to meet the work permit eligibility criteria as outlined above. If the work visa renewal application is approved, the extension of stay will normally follow the 2-2-3 years pattern or in accordance with the duration of your employment contract, whichever is shorter.
6. Change of Employment
Under the employment for professionals scheme, the work permit issued is tied to a specific employer and is not transferable. In order to change jobs, the applicant must obtain first approval by filing "Application for Change of Employment" with the Immigration Department. Upon approval, the applicant must surrender his/her existing work permit and collect the new one.
7. Permanent Residence
If you have been granted a work visa under the employment for professionals scheme and you have resided in Hong Kong for a continuous period of at least seven years, you are eligible to apply for Permanent Residence, commonly referred to as "Right of Abode" in Hong Kong. The application is subject to satisfying the requisite criteria.