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QOTW: Can I Get A Hong Kong Work Visa With No Degree?

March 8th, 2024

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


An old chestnut this question which comes up time and time again about getting a Hong Kong work visa with no degree – albeit this time in the context of a technical apprenticeship undertaken straight out of senior high school.


I moved to Hong Kong from France one month ago.

I came here together with my boyfriend who has started to work here (we are not married, so no dependant visa!!).

In France I was working for Company A as a customer service agent. I actually also got a job at Company A here in Hong Kong before I arrived here.

But I don’t have a university degree. I did my A-Levels in France followed by a 2,5 year apprenticeship in my niche and after that I worked there for about 2 years.

What are my chances to get the working visa, without holding a University degree?


The General Employment Policy in Hong Kong calls for applicants for employment visas to have a university degree; however, what happens if you don’t have a university degree but have technical qualifications instead? Could an applicant who possesses special skills, knowledge, or experience of value to and not readily available in Hong Kong, obtain an employment visa?

Generally, an employment visa applicant is expected to have a university degree and at least two years post-graduation working experience in a managerial or supervisory capacity; however, what happens in real life is that not everybody goes to university and there are plenty of people in Hong Kong who do have working visas but they never went to university themselves; therefore, how did they get their visas?

Essentially, the Immigration Department have a certain amount of flexibility and in general terms, if you don’t have a university degree but you have technical qualifications the immigration department will expect you to have at least five years post-qualification working experience in the managerial or supervisory capacity, and if you don’t have technical qualifications you’re expected to have at least 10 years of working experience in a managerial or supervisory capacity; so, in this instance it seems to me that you haven’t yet quite met the five years post-qualification working experience in the managerial or supervisory capacity that you need and therefore I suspect you might find it difficult to persuade the Immigration Department that you should be granted an employment visa in your circumstances; and, of course, aligned with all of this, is this overarching question – does the work that’s being offered to you, can actually be undertaken by a local person, and that’s an objective test and the immigration department will make the determination based on all of the evidence that they’ve got bundled up inside the 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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