Complete Guide on Employment Visa in Hong Kong



Acquiring work visas in Hong Kong is notoriously difficult and troublesome, as the city regularly fills opportunities with local experts. Yet, a proper and comprehensive investigation will help you to demonstrate that your employees are well-qualified for the job. And most importantly, the visa application handled within the city is free, which could be an advantage for scores of companies.

Types of Work Visas in Hong Kong

(1) Technology Talent Admission Scheme

This scheme issues work visas for professionals who specialize in certain technology sectors, including artificial intelligence and financial technologies.

(2) Training

There is a training option for individuals who wish to live in Hong Kong for not more than a year and to learn a skill or gain specific knowledge.

(3) Quality migrant admission scheme

This scheme is for expats in specific professions. There are a thousand positions individuals who work for the IT, legal, and creative industries without an existing job offer in Hong Kong.

(4) Immigration arrangements for non-local graduates

This immigration scheme is for recent Hong Kong university graduates who wish to stay in the city. Within six months of graduation, they could stay in Hong Kong to look for jobs.


Eligibility Criteria for work and employment visa 

Under the employment for professionals scheme, applicants should fulfil the following requirements:

  • No criminal records or security objections.
  • A good educational background. An undergraduate degree in the relevant field is preferred.
  • In the absence of such a degree, documentary prooves of technical qualifications, professional abilities, achievements and experience may suffice.
  • Job vacancy at the employing company.
  • A confirmed job offer that matches your academic qualifications or working experience and that the job cannot be readily taken up by the local workforce.

Application Procedure and Timeline 


Once both the employee 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 and the processing of a work visa application takes about 2-3 months.


The Immigration Department will issue a Visa / Entry Permit label for successful applications. It 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 are valid for a year. 


For rejected case, an appeal can be filed with authorities.


Other admission schemes

Low angle of successful female executive manager in classy style sitting at table with laptop in contemporary workplace and passing documents to colleague(a) Admission schemes for talent

Foreign technology professionals may apply to work in Hong Kong under Technology Talent Admission Scheme (TechTAS). 

TechTAS provides companies with a fast-track arrangement to hire non-local technology talent to perform research and development (R&D) in Hong Kong. Eligible companies first need to apply for a quota. A company that has been allocated a quota by the Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC) may sponsor an eligible employee for an employment visa within the 12-month validity of the quota.

However, there are certain requirements under TechTAS that include:

  • The employing company has to obtain a valid quota approved by ITC at the time of application.
  • Applicants should be primarily engaged in conducting R&D in the areas of artificial intelligence, biotechnology, cybersecurity, data analytics, financial technologies, material science, robotics, 5G communications, digital entertainment, green technology, integrated circuit design, Internet-of-Things or microelectronics.
  • Applicants should hold a degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) from a well-recognized university.
  • Remuneration shall not be lower than the prevailing market level for comparable jobs in Hong Kong.
  • Applicants should meet the specific particulars pertaining to the job position set out in the quota allotment letter issued by ITC.

(b) Admission schemes for professionals

The General Employment Policy (GEP) allows individuals with particular skill sets or work experience from overseas including Taiwan and Macao to work in Hong Kong. 

There are three major requirements.

  • An applicant needs to secure a job relevant to their academic qualifications or work experience that cannot be readily taken up by the local workforce.
  • The remuneration package needs to be commensurate with the prevailing market rate.
  • An applicant should have a good educational background, technical qualifications or proven professional experience.

The government has also launched various enhancement measures including:

  1. A relaxed pattern of an individual’s stay’s duration from ‘1+2+2+3’ years to ‘2+3+3’ years.
  2. Relaxed eligible top-tier entrants’ pattern of the duration of stay from ‘1+2+2+3’ years to ‘2+6’ years; on time limitation with no other conditions of stay upon extension.

(c) Admission schemes for entrepreneurs

Foreign entrepreneurs including those from Taiwan and Macao who wish to start or join a business in Hong Kong may also apply for an employment visa in Hong Kong under the GEP.

Major requirements include:

  • Decent educational background, technical qualifications, or proven professional experience.
  • An applicant should be able to make a significant contribution to the economy of the HKSAR.

When assessing applications, the authorities have launched various enhancement measures recently by considering the following factors:

  • Business plan
  • Business turnover
  • Financial resources
  • Investment sum
  • Number of jobs created locally
  • Introduction of new technology or skills

Start-up entrepreneurs who wish to establish or join an enterprise supported by a government-backed program such as:

  • InvestHK’s StartmeupHK Venture Programme
  • Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation’s Incu-App, Incu-Bio and Incu-Tech programs
  • Cyberport Incubation Programme
  • Innovation and Technology Commission’s Small Entrepreneur Research Assistance Programme and Enterprise Support Scheme
  • Hong Kong Design Centre’s Design Incubation Programme

(d) Working holidays

Hong Kong's authorities have designed this scheme with the intention of facilitating cultural and educational exchanges between Hong Kong and other countries, as well as strengthening bilateral relationships. Participants who hold national passports of the participating countries and ordinarily reside in their home country with the intent of enjoying the holidays in Hong Kong are welcomed. As for the most important part, visitors can take on short-term employment or training courses in Hong Kong while on holiday. You should also keep in mind that each country has a certain quota and that qualified applications will be approved on a first-come, first-served basis. In order to be granted a Working Holiday visa, an individual must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • An individual holds a valid national passport issued by the participating country and is ordinarily residing in that participating country.
  • Their primary intention is to spend holiday time in Hong Kong.
  • The person has to be aged between 18 and 30.
  • An individual should be able to produce financial proof of having an amount sufficient for their maintenance during their proposed stay in the HKSAR 
  • An individual holds a return air ticket or financial proof of having sufficient funds to purchase a return air ticket.
  • The person agrees to hold medical, healthcare, repatriation and liability insurance to remain in force throughout their stay in the HKSAR.

How Zebra can Help You? 

Zebra provides a full range of services from visa application to visa renewal for all individuals and family members who wish to stay and work in Hong Kong. Let Zebra takes care of all tedious works throughout the process. Just give us a call and we will update you on the application or renewal status anytime. 



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