Hong Kong Work Visa Requirements and Applications

How To Get An Employment Visa or Work Visa In Hong Kong

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Work Visa

The Hong Kong Employment Visa is a form of a special work visa or work permit for foreigners in Hong Kong. It gives the right to reside and work in Hong Kong during the term of the Employment Visa. 

An employment visa is granted by the Immigration Department (ImmD) of Hong Kong which is given under the General Employment Policy. Also, the authorities in Hong Kong use different schemes to attract talent to Hong Kong such as the Top Talent Pass Scheme, the Admission Scheme for the Mainland Talents and Professionals, and the Technology Talent Admission Scheme.

In this article, you will discover the eligibility requirements, necessary documents, the application process, and additional information you should know when applying for an employment visa or work visa in Hong Kong.

Eligibility Requirements

The following criteria should be met to be eligible for a Hong Kong Employment Visa : 

  • Clean Criminal Record
  • Strong Educational Background: Usually the applicant is expected to own the first-level university degree in the chosen field, but there are exceptions where the applicant may be considered based on his/her technical qualifications, professional abilities, and documented achievements. 
  • Genuine Job Vacancy: The vacancy should be really left unfilled. 
  • Confirmed Employment Offer: A genuine job offer must be presented. 
  • Comparable Remuneration: The proposed wage needs to be at par with the current market rates of professionals in Hong Kong. 

Generally, the Immigration Department evaluates the visa application by following conditions before approval: 

  • The job is the one which is in line with education or job history. 
  • This vacancy in the workforce is not so easy to be replaced by local workers. 
  • Attaching job description and the sponsoring employer’s explanation why they cannot match the post domestically. 
  • By being the sponsor, the sponsoring company can show the local community that it has a firm intention to operate in Hong Kong.

Required Documents For Employment Visa In Hong Kong

Keep in mind that both the applicant and the sponsoring company should submit copies of supporting documentation.

Required Documents From The Applicant 

  • Completed Employment Visa Application Form with a recent photograph attached.
  • Copy of Passport: Personal particulars page. For current residents, include pages with the latest arrival stamp/landing slip/extension of stay label and, if applicable, the latest issued e-Visa.
  • Copy of HKID Card (if applicable).
  • Proof of Overseas Residence: Copy of relevant documentation.
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV) and Academic Qualifications/Relevant Work Experience Documentation.

Required Documents From The Employer 

  • Submitted application form regarding emplying professionals in Hong Kong
  • The contract of employment or letter of appointment of the firm. It should include the data regarding your post, salary, other benefits and also the time of employment. 
  • Copies of the company’s registration certificate of business. 
  • Supply the company’s financial status documents, as proof, including the latest audited financial report or the profit tax return. 
  • Documents that contain the account of the business activities of the company, including the mode of operation, product range, sources and markets, connection of the company owners, membership of Chambers of commerce (if any), and many others.  
  • Among the other essential documents, the business plan should also be included for new companies (less than 12 months of operations).  E.  g.  source of funds, estimated capital injection, nature/mode of business activities, expected turnover, sales volume, gross and net profit in the coming years, proposed creation of local jobs, etc. 

All the documents shall be in English or Chinese language or must be translated by a certified translation body before submitting.

The Immigration Department reserves the right to demand more documents from the applicant or the employer company if it is necessary.

Work Visa Hong Kong Application Procedure & Duration

After the applicant and the employer have collected all the documents for the work permit application process, this submission must take place by mailing to the Hong Kong Immigration Department.

The time to process a work visa application is approximately 2-3 months.

If the outcome is positive the Immigration Department will issue the Visa/Entry Permit label which must be personally collected by the applicant or by an authorized representative for the applicant. The “Visa/Entry Permit” label should be affixed on a blank visa page of the applicant’s passport and he/she has to present it to the Immigration Officer as soon as they arrive in Hong Kong.

Normally, for the first time, work permit visas are given for one-year periods.

If an individual’s application for a work permit is denied, she can file an appeal with the relevant authorities.

Employment Visa Extension

An expiring employment visa is not the end of the applicant’s journey.  They may apply for employment visa renewal if they continue to work for the same employer. Normal circumstances would result in three-year extension being approved, generally. 

Except in the case where the applicant’s Hong Kong employment visa is still valid, they should apply for a sponsorship change in case they resign and look for another job. 

The people who have work permit may file their renewal request by submitting the required documents, at least 4 weeks before their current stay limit expires. It will only be the employment visa renewal to be considered if the applicant meets the work permit qualification criteria set out in the previous section. For instance, imagine that you have been successful in your Hong Kong work permit extension application. In such a case, your contract may be extended for two or three years.  It might also be proportional to the duration of your contract, which is shorter. 

The Hong Kong resident who has a valid employment visa and wants to continue working in Hong Kong may renew their employment visa or apply for the extension, provided that the employment conditions are also maintained. Normally, the first working visas will be valid for 24 months (two years) from the date of issuance. The applicants are advised to make an application for a working visa renewal four weeks prior to the expiry of their current visa. 

Eventually Hong Kong will give you an extension or working visa renewal, which is valid for three years and you can get it via your current employer. 

It should be noted that the Hong Kong employment visa will expire by the time when the passport expires. The passport’s expiration date should be verified before submitting an application to renew a Hong Kong working visa. For the passport that is still valid, you can apply for Hong Kong working visa renewal at the embassy in Hong Kong.

Change Of Employment

Change of Visa Sponsor, or as it is commonly referred to, Change of Employer or Change of Work Sponsorship. 

If you are currently working in Hong Kong on an employment visa and wish to switch jobs, you first need to get the permission from the HK Immigration Department by applying for a Change of Visa Sponsorship. The application process is endorsed by the Immigration Department before a new job is initiated. 

The application for the new work permit is similar to the application for a brand-new work visa.  However, if the new employment is the same or similar to the previous occupational field or industry and the general circumstances of the applicant remain the same, the application process should be straightforward. 

Points to note for applicants:

  • Applicant must be currently in Hong Kong. 
  • Besides that, an applicant must have a good educational background. But as a rule I consider it more preferable to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in the related fields. Nevertheless, not having a bachelor’s degree, documentary evidence of technical skills, professional abilities, accomplishments and experience can replace this requirement. 
  • The applicant has terminated his/her employment with the previous company and a release letter (showing the employment end date). 
  • If the new job creates a real job vacancy, the new employing company hires someone.

Dependant Visa

A dependent visa, on the other hand, is a way by which family members of the foreign nationals in Hong Kong can not only be allowed to live there but also be able to relocate and join them. This visa type is particularly important for people who are employed or invested and also for permanent residents of Hong Kong. The requirement set for dependent visas is different depending on the residence status of the sponsor. 

Sponsors who have Hong Kong permanent residence or are residents without a time limit for stay, such as those with the right of abode or unconditional stay, may also sponsor their spouses, children under the age of 18, or parents who are 60 years old and above. Besides, sponsors who have been granted a working visa, investment visa, or training visa are also allowed to bring dependents such as their spouses and children who are under 18 years of age. 

The main points for processing the dependent visa applications include showing that there is a genuine relationship between applicant and the sponsor, no criminal record and the sponsor should have the ability to support and provide a proper accommodation for the dependent in Hong Kong. 

The application process for the dependent visa has several stages, which include pre-application advices, tracking application, issuance of document, and handling of the renewals before the expiration. Generally, these documents encompass the filled-in application forms, recent photographs, proof of relationship, and copies of the relevant identification documents. 

The tied visas holders’ duration of stay will be linked to the sponsor’s length of stay, with any subsequent extensions subject to the applicant’s continued eligibility and the sponsor’s residency or employment status in Hong Kong. Moreover, the foreign dependents of such visa holders are not prohibited from pursuing jobs or studies in Hong Kong. 

The actual processing time for dependent visa applications is usually about six weeks from the date of submission of all the required documents. By having a special team just for immigration, the visa application process can be handled in a fast and consistent manner, which in turn would make sure that the family members’ moving to Hong Kong would be smooth and easy. Read Getting Dependant Visa In Hong Kong.

Permanent Residence

For those aiming at a long-term living and legal rights in Hong Kong, obtaining permanent residency is a critical step toward this objective. Immigration status, which is also called the “Right of Abode,” allows for the stay and job opportunities in Hong Kong without the problem of time limitation and immigration uncertainty. 

The Immigration Department of Hong Kong have set out certain criteria that the people must fulfill to be eligible for permanent residency in this city. These criteria fluctuate with the type of immigration status, family ties, and visa status. In general, the eligibility covers Hong Kong Chinese people who have birth right in Hong Kong, Chinese citizens who have been living in Hong Kong for at least 7 years, and non-Chinese citizens who have resided in Hong Kong for at least 7 years and have declared Hong Kong as their permanent place of residence. 

The application process of permanent residency has several steps.  It is designed for those applicants who meet the prescribed eligibility criteria by providing them with different application forms. Particularly, the applicants who are eligible should gather together supporting documents to verify their eligibility, which may include birth certificate, proof of residency and identification documents. 

Therefore, after getting ready the required documents, the applicants can submit their applications through various channels such as postal mail, drop by the office or online submission. The application is submitted to the Immigration Department for careful review and evaluation from that point. 

The Certificate of Entitlement (CoE) is a crucial point for resuming the right of abode for individuals of Chinese nationality born outside of Hong Kong as long as they have a direct link via parentage to the city. This document states their right to land and stay in Hong Kong and therefore, it is a separate process from other applications which involves the submission of necessary documents and their compliance to specified eligibility criteria. 

Following verification of the application, successful applicants will become permanent residents and as a result, they will enjoy a lot of privileges, such as the provision of free movement in and out of Hong Kong, immunity from deportation and protection against forced removal. One of the main advantages of obtaining permanent residency is that it provides a wide range of benefits, but it is also necessary to understand that the application process is complicated and you should always consult a professional legal adviser to ensure compliance with current legal regulations.

How FastLane Group Can Help?

You can either be a corporate employee moving to Hong Kong to work for your company or you can be an employer wishing to hire workers from another country and  FastLane Group can help with this by preparing and submitting your employment visa application to the government.

With our Visa service, you can apply for any kind of visa in Hong Kong with ease. Our experienced team will guide you through the Hong Kong Work Visa Requirements, ensuring a smooth and efficient application process. Talk to us now to find out more about how we can support you.