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Navigating Hong Kong Employment and Dependent Visas: A Comprehensive Guide

May 13th, 2023

Posted in Employment Visas, Family Visas, Musing, The Hong Kong Visa Geeza /


Explore our comprehensive guide on Hong Kong employment and dependent visas. Learn about the application process, eligibility criteria, and the rights of visa holders. Get insights on how to navigate the Immigration Department’s requirements and make your transition to Hong Kong smoother.

Hong Kong, a bustling metropolis known for its thriving business environment, attracts professionals from around the globe. The city’s General Employment Policy (GEP) facilitates the entry of foreign nationals into the workforce. However, the process of obtaining an employment visa can be complex, requiring a thorough understanding of the criteria set by the Immigration Department. This guide will walk you through the essentials of Hong Kong employment and dependent visas, ensuring a smoother transition for you and your family.

Understanding the Hong Kong Employment Visa

Hong Kong employment visas are issued to foreign professionals who possess special skills, knowledge, or experience valued in Hong Kong and not readily available in the local workforce. The applicant must be well-educated, typically holding at least a bachelor’s degree with a minimum of two years post-graduation work experience in a managerial or supervisory capacity. However, the Immigration Department may consider technical qualifications, proven professional abilities, and extensive relevant work experience as an alternative to formal university education.

The applicant must also be of good character, and the compensation for the job must be broadly commensurate with market rates. The employing enterprise must be deemed a suitable and credible sponsor by the Immigration Department. This means your company must be well established, have a properly set up office, and already employ Hong Kong locals.

The Role of the Sponsoring Company

The sponsoring company plays a crucial role in the visa application process. It must provide a range of documents, including proof of financial standing and detailed business plans for companies set up within the last 12 months. If the annual salary for the post offered is HK$2 million or above, or the work nature is included on the Talent List published by the Hong Kong Immigration Department, the employer is not required to provide proof to substantiate difficulties in local recruitment prior to making the application.

The Dependent Visa: Bringing Your Family to Hong Kong

Once an applicant secures an employment visa, they can bring their dependents to Hong Kong. This includes their legal spouse and any children under the age of 18. The dependent visa process requires proof of the sponsor’s financial standing, proof of the applicant’s relationship with the sponsor, and proof of accommodation in Hong Kong. These requirements are liberalised in applying to come to Hong Kong as a family for the very first time as part of a substantive employment visa application.

One of the key advantages of a dependent visa in Hong Kong is the holder’s ability to work, establish and join in a business, or study without further permissions required from the Immigration Department. This makes Hong Kong an attractive destination for families.

The Importance of Timing

It’s important to note that the processing time for an employment visa application typically ranges between four and six weeks. If in Hong Kong as a visitor at the time the application is submitted, under no circumstances should the applicant begin their employment duties until the visa application has been approved. There are no exceptions to this rule. Visas for dependents will be issued at the same time as the employment visa, provided the marriage or civil partnership is certified, and the children are the biological or adopted offspring of at least one of the parents.

Must Have Resources

INFOGRAPHIC – Newcomers Guide to Getting an Employment Visa for Hong Kong

FACTSHEET – Visa Information On the Hong Kong Employment Visa

PLAN – The Hong Kong Visa Application Roadmap

VIDEO – Your Employer Must Help You Get Your Hong Kong Employment Visa

TEMPLATES – How to Structure Your Hong Kong Employment Visa Application Argument

CASE STUDY – Hong Kong Employment Visa – Teenage High School Graduate Gets Approved!

VIDEO – Does Your Employer Control Your Hong Kong Immigration Destiny?

VIDEO – What’s the Minimum Salary Requirement for a Hong Kong Employment Visa?

VIDEO – If I Didn’t Graduate From a University Will It Preclude Me From Getting an Employment Visa in HK?

PODCAST – Can I Come to Hong Kong as a Visitor, Find a Job, then Change to an Employment Visa?

CASE STUDY – Hong Kong Employment Visa Application – When All Else Failed We Appealed to the Chief Executive – and Won!

VIDEO – I Hate My Boss and Want to Leave My Job – What Happens to My Hong Kong Employment Visa?


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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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