Expanding into a country or hiring a workforce abroad can lead your business to great profits, but unfamiliar laws and regulations can counteract your company’s goals and plans. At Bradford Jacobs, we want to eliminate this complicated part. By using our PEO-service we can arrange all needed visas and permits including the entire application process without your physical presence.
With low costs in administration, labor and tax, attractive business incentives, and reputable scores in ease of business, Hong Kong is an appealing business expansion option for foreign companies, entrepreneurs, and workers. Hong Kong visa and permit regulations require expert guidance as they vary according to the zones foreign nationals reside in – Mainland China, Asia, Europe, the US, and outside zones are all affected by these regulations.
With years of experience in Employer of Record (EOR) services, we are experts in Hong Kong recruitment and payroll and can ensure an employee’s swift implementation in Hong Kong with the correct visa and permit documentation. Our team is trained to research the latest information on Hong Kong visas and work permits and therefore, we created a guide to introduce you to the rules and requirements.
What types of Work Visas and Permits in Hong Kong are there?
Hong Kong has several visas foreign nationals can apply for, depending on their work needs:
- Visa under the General Employment Policy (GEP) – A Professional Work Visa for expats that are highly qualified for their work.
- Visa under the Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals (ASMTP).
- Visa under Immigration Arrangements for Non-Local Graduates (IANG) – This is a visa for foreign nations with a degree from Hong Kong. Within 6 months of graduation, individuals can apply for this visa to stay in Hong Kong for up to a year to look for local employment.
- Visa under the Technology Talent Admission Scheme (TTAS) – This work visa is for specialists in certain technology sectors, which include artificial intelligence and financial technologies.
- Training Visa – This visa option is for individuals who are looking to learn a skill or gain specific knowledge and want to live in Hong Kong for up to a year.
- Visa under Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS) – Expats from certain professions who want to work in Hong Kong, and has 1,000 slots for IT, financial, legal, and creative individuals who do not have an existing job offer.
Most foreign nationals who are moving to Hong Kong apply for a GEP Visa. Most work visas are only valid for a year, but they can be renewed.
How to obtain a Hong Kong Work Visa?
Applications for Hong Kong Work Visas requires thorough screening and documentation, and in the case of the GEP Visa, requires a sponsorship from their employer detailing the applicant’s position in the company.
- The employee’s application form.
- Sponsorship Letter from Employer.
- A valid passport.
- Passport Photos.
- Copy of a Hong Kong Identity Card (if applicable).
- Proof of overseas residence.
- Proof of sufficient funds.
- Proof of travel.
- Proof of academic qualifications and relevant working experience.
- A certified copy of the employment contract or letter of appointment containing information on your post, salaries, benefits, and employment periods.
- A criminal conduct certificate.
- A copy of the employer’s documents – the Business Registration Certificate, application form for employing professionals, proof of company’s financial standing, documents detailing company’s background.
- Proof that the employer could not find a local to fill the position.
Applicants must possess a good educational background, and it is normally preferred for them to have at least an undergraduate degree in the relevant field. However, if a degree does not necessarily apply, documentation of technical qualifications, relevant professional abilities, and experience may suffice. Documents must also be translated to Chinese and English, and notarized.
The Hong Kong Immigration Department (HKID) prefers to admit foreign nationals with skills, knowledge or experiences that are not readily available in the country. However, most applications are easily admitted.
How to Apply for work visa/work permit in Hong Kong
The typical process for applying for a work visa tends to be in this order:
- Fill in the national visa application form: this can be done online or by hand.
- Prepare documents: You need to present/attach the required documents, translated and notarized, you have collected to your online or offline application.
- Send forms online or to your local embassy/consulate: The application form and documents must be sent straight to the HKID via the employer, or the employee’s local Chinese embassy or consulate. This process may vary according to the regulation in your country of residence. Currently, biometrics are not requested.
- Pay the visa fee: The payment process/requirements may also vary according to the country of residence.
The processing time for a work visa is approximately 4-6 weeks. The embassy can ask for more information or request more documentation during this time.
How much is a Hong Kong Work Visa?
Visa Applications cost HK$230, which amounts to about $30 and EUR 25.
Working Visa/Permit for Hong Kong
To legally work in Hong Kong, foreign nationals must have a work visa. These visas authorize an individual to work and live in Hong Kong for a year. However, this is not the only document that is required for a foreign national.
Once the visa has been issued, either by the Hong Kong Immigration Department or the local embassy/consulate, the employee must enter Hong Kong within 90 days.
After the employee has arrived in Hong Kong, a Hong Kong ID application must be filed within 30 days, which must be done in person at the Immigration Department. This document is used for tax administration and social security benefits.
Business Visa Hong Kong
Hong Kong has a particular visa in mind for those who wish to conduct business operations in Hong Kong, particularly business owners and entrepreneurs – the Hong Kong Investment Visa. The aim of this visa scheme is to strengthen the economy, so the applicants must convince the authorities that their business plans can add significant value.
To obtain this visa, applicants must prove that they are either the sole of majority shareholder of the company, or that their business in Hong Kong will enhance the local HK company. Besides this, you will also need to appoint a local sponsor, who can be an individual or company that must shoulder your responsibility if you leave Hong Kong.
You, the applicant, must present the following documents:
- The application form.
- A copy of your passport.
- A copy of your travel document that remains valid for at least the duration of your stay in Hong Kong.
- A copy of your Hong Kong Identity Card (if applicable).
- Proof of academic and/or professional credentials such as graduate degree, investment portfolio, etc.
- Documents supporting your financial standing as well as well as that of your company.
- A copy of the company’s employment contract or letter of appointment recognizing you position, which must include your post details, benefits, and employment period.
- An extensive 2-year business plan that encompasses all details of the company such as business activities, investment capital, local job posts, office set-up, showroom, warehouse, etc.
- Copy of company’s valid Business Registration Certificate issued by the Inland Revenue Department (IRD).
- A copy of overseas residence (if you are a resident of Macao SAR of Taiwan, or overseas Chinese holding a PRC passport.
The sponsors must also supply their own documents:
- Sponsor (Company) - A filled application that is specifically devised for the sponsor, A copy of the company’s Business Registration Certificate,
- Sponsor (Individual) - A filled application that is specifically devised for the sponsor, a copy of their Hong Kong Identity Card, a copy of their personal particulars page of a valid travel document
Once the documents have been filled out and collected, the application must be submitted by post to the Hong Kong Immigration Department and takes approximately 3-5 months to be processed.
If the application is approved, the Visa/Entry Permit will be issued, and must be collected in-person at the Immigration Department. If this cannot be done, you can have your sponsor or an authorized representative to do so for you.
The visa is valid for 2 years and can be renewed. You may also bring family members (under certain conditions).
If, however, your company position is not applicable for this visa scheme, and you intend to travel to Hong Kong for a short-term business trip (less than 90 days), you would not need to apply for a visa to enter Hong Kong. Though this depends on your country of residence.
Hong Kong Visa for EU citizens
EU Citizens can travel to Hong Kong, visa free, for 90 days. All visitors must have a valid passport for at least one to six months after the period of the intended stay in Hong Kong, proof of sufficient funds and travel itinerary documents (plane tickets, accommodation, etc.).
However, if an EU citizen would like to stay in Hong Kong for a longer period, for work or study, they would have to apply for a long-term visa.
Hong Kong Visa for USA citizens
To enter Hong Kong, a US citizen does not need a visa if they intend to stay for 90 days. They do, however, provide a passport that is valid for at least one month beyond the date of their intended stay, proof of adequate funds for the stay, as well as provide a travel itinerary (return plane tickets, etc.).
If a US citizen would like to stay in Hong for more than 90 days, for work or study, they need to obtain a long-term visa prior to leaving the US.
Hong Kong Visa for Canadian citizens
In the case of Canadian citizens, any citizen who wishes to travel to Hong Kong for leisure or business can do so, if the length of the trip is under 90 days. For study, however, a visa is required.
If they would like to stay in Hong Kong for longer, such as for work, they would have to apply for a long-term employment visa.
Hong Kong Visa for China
Since Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China, mainland Chinese citizens require an entry and exit permit to enter Hong Kong – be it for visits, work, study, or even moving to Hong Kong from mainland China.
The most common permit that is issued for Mainland residents to enter Hong Kong is the “Exit-Entry Permit for Travelling to and from Hong Kong and Macao”, which is also known as an EEP permit. This is issued along with other endorsement papers, depending on the reason for the visit, which is issued from the relevant Public Security Bureau Office.
For applications submitted to the Immigration division in Beijing or SHETO, it normally takes three working days.
The application process varies according to the reasons for application but is similar to the employment visa process (above).
Hong Kong Visa for UK Citizens
UK citizens can visit Hong Kong for up to 6 months without a visa. However, if you plan to work or study in Hong Kong, or stay longer than 6 months, a visa is required.
For any type of travel to Hong Kong, you must have:
- A passport that is valid for at least one month after the departure date of your stay
- The necessary documents (itinerary, accommodation, flight tickets, etc.)
- Proof of sufficient funds
Expanding into Hong Kong with Bradford Jacobs
If you are expanding your business into Hong Kong and would like to know more about the country’s visa and work permit requirements, contact us today.