Hong Kong's General
Employment Policy

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) might be a major hub for expat employment but securing work authorisation in the region is never a foregone conclusion.

As a general rule, any person other than those who have the right of abode or right to land in Hong Kong, must obtain a visa before coming to Hong Kong for the purpose of study, taking up employment, training, investment or residence.

In order to obtain an employment visa, companies must sponsor the foreign national to work for them and apply for employment visas on their employees’ behalf. Ideally, this should be done before the individual moves to the region.

It goes without saying, the Hong Kong Immigration Department expects each applicant to meet normal immigration requirements (such as holding a valid travel document with adequate returnability to his/her country of residence or citizenship); be of clear criminal record and raise no security or criminal concerns to the HKSAR ahead of applying.

The General Employment Policy (GEP) scheme sets out the specific entry arrangements for persons who wish to enter/stay in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) for employment as professionals.

Key criteria 

An application for a visa/ entry permit to take up employment under the GEP may be favourably considered if:

  • there is no security objection and no known record of serious crime in respect of the applicant;
  • the applicant has a good education background, normally a first degree in the relevant field, but in special circumstances, good technical qualifications, proven professional abilities and/or relevant experience and achievements supported by documentary evidence may also be accepted;
  • there is a genuine job vacancy;
  • the applicant has a confirmed offer of employment and is employed in a job relevant to his academic qualifications or work experience that cannot be readily taken up by the local work force; and
  • the remuneration package including income, accommodation, medical and other fringe benefits is broadly commensurate with the prevailing market level for professionals in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).

While each application is determined on its individual merits, applicants meeting the specific eligibility criteria detailed above may be considered for the grant of a visa/entry permit. Anyone seeking to apply under this scheme should take note that this type of visa generally takes four-to-six weeks to process by the authorities.

If you’re unclear about any aspect of Hong Kong’s entry requirements, or you need further reassurance contact the team at Smith Stone Walters. 

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