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Hong Kong Visa Requirements | Type Of Visa You Will Need To Live Or Work | Considering The Top Talent Pass?

November 10th, 2023

Posted in Employment Visas, Family Visas, Feature Article, Investment Visas, Musing, Special Programmes, The Hong Kong Visa Geeza /


Hong Kong Visa Requirements To Take Up Residence

Here’s What You Need To Consider If You Want To Live Or Work In HK

hong kong visa requirements

What Are The Hong Kong Visa Requirements Applicable To You?

To live and work in the HKSAR you need to know the Hong Kong visa requirements; there are various visa types available. However, please note that the following information does not cover the Visitor Visa, Student Visa, Foreign Domestic Helper (FDH) visa, the Right of Abode, or Unconditional Stay.

Hong Kong Visa Requirements

Here are the Hong Kong visa requirements to take up residence to live and work in the HKSAR.

1. Work Visa

This visa is for individuals who have a confirmed offer of employment in Hong Kong.
– The applicant must possess special skills, knowledge, or experience that is not readily available in the local job market.
– The sponsoring employer must demonstrate that they have made genuine efforts to recruit local talent.
– The applicant must meet the academic qualifications or relevant experience required for the job.
– The employment contract should offer a salary package that is in line with the prevailing market standards.
– The applicant should have a clean criminal record and good health.
– The sponsoring employer must provide supporting documents, such as business registration, financial statements, and proof of the need to hire a foreign employee.

2. Business Investment (Entrepreneur) Visa

This visa is for individuals who wish to establish or join a business in Hong Kong.
– The applicant must have a substantial investment in the business and possess the skills, knowledge, or experience necessary to contribute to the economy.
– The business should be viable and have the potential to create job opportunities for the local workforce.
– The applicant should provide a detailed business plan, financial projections, and evidence of available funds.
– The Immigration Department will assess the applicant’s business background, financial resources, and the economic benefit the business will bring to Hong Kong.

3. Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS)

This scheme is for highly skilled or talented individuals who wish to settle in Hong Kong.
– The applicant must meet the prerequisites, including age, academic qualifications, work experience, language proficiency, and family background.
– Points are awarded based on a scoring system, and applicants with the highest scores are invited to apply.
– The applicant should have a confirmed offer of employment or possess exceptional skills, achievements, or talents.
– The applicant must demonstrate that they can contribute significantly to Hong Kong’s economy or enhance its competitiveness.

4. Top Talent Pass (TTPS)

This visa is the new kid on the block with more than 110,000 applications in the first 8 months of its existence.

Eligibility Criteria

– Category A: Individuals must have an annual income of at least HK$2.5 million (or its equivalent in foreign currency) in the year immediately preceding the application date. This income should come from taxable employment or business income, such as salary, allowances, stock options, and profits from self-owned companies. Personal investment income is not considered.
– Category B: Degree graduates from one of the world’s top 100 universities with at least three years of work experience over the past five years immediately preceding the application date.
– Category C: Degree graduates from one of the world’s top 100 universities in the past five years immediately preceding the application date with less than three years of work experience. However, this category does not apply to non-local students who obtained their undergraduate qualification in a full-time, locally-accredited program in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).

Application Process

– Applicants must submit an online application and upload the required supporting documents.
– Category A applicants need to provide documents to prove their income, such as a notice of salary tax assessment, proof of stock options, or financial reports of self-owned companies.
– Category B and C applicants need to provide proof of their academic qualifications from one of the world’s top 100 universities. If they haven’t obtained their graduation certificate, they can provide documentary proof issued by the relevant university or institution confirming their graduation.
– The online application service allows applicants to choose from 17 major currencies to convert their income into Hong Kong dollars if it’s not denominated in HKD or one of the 17 foreign currencies.

Benefits and Conditions

– TTPS-approved individuals are granted an initial stay of 24 months without other conditions of stay.
– They can change jobs without notifying the Immigration Department and do not require a re-entry visa/entry permit if they return within their permitted limit of stay.
– TTPS-approved individuals can bring their spouse, same-sex civil partner, and unmarried dependent children under the age of 18 as dependents, provided they can support them financially and provide suitable accommodation.
– Dependents admitted under the TTPS can take up employment or study in Hong Kong.
– When applying for an extension of stay, applicants must have secured an offer of employment or proof of business. Extensions are granted on a 3-3-year pattern.
– Unemployed applicants may be refused further extension.

Transparency and Fairness

– The TTPS aims to address concerns about transparency and fairness in the selection process by providing clear eligibility criteria and requirements.
– The eligibility criterion for job level is assessed on a case-by-case basis, considering whether it is commonly taken up by degree holders.
– The list of the world’s top 100 universities is compiled by the Labour and Welfare Bureau based on four designated world university rankings in the past 5 years.

Attracting Professionals

– The TTPS plays a crucial role in attracting professionals from diverse backgrounds to Hong Kong.
– It enhances Hong Kong’s overall business environment by bringing in top talent with valuable skills and expertise.
– However, it’s important to consider other factors in attracting skilled professionals to Hong Kong, and the TTPS can be compared to alternative immigration policies or schemes.

5. Dependant Visa

This visa is for the dependants of individuals who hold a valid employment, investment, TTPS or QMAS visa in Hong Kong.
– The dependant can be a spouse, unmarried dependent child under the age of 18, or a dependent parent aged 60 or above.
– The sponsor must demonstrate that they can support the dependant financially and provide suitable accommodation.
– The defendant should have a clean criminal record and good health.

It is important to note that the visa application process across all visas can be complex, and each case is assessed on its own merits. It is advisable to seek professional advice and guidance to ensure a smooth and successful application.


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The Hong Kong Visa Geeza (a.k.a Stephen Barnes) is a co-founder of the Hong Kong Visa Centre and author of the Hong Kong Visa Handbook. A law graduate of the London School of Economics, Stephen has been practicing Hong Kong immigration since 1993 and is widely acknowledged as the leading authority on business immigration matters here for the last 24 years.

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