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Residence and Visa issues for Hong Kong

There are various different ways to become Hong Kong Resident. The Principal ones are set out below. It is advisable to hire the services of professionals to handle the application on your behalf.

Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Visa
The Entry for Investment visa scheme is for foreign entrepreneurs who wish to operate their own business in Hong Kong. It is essentially a type of work permit that is issued to the owner of a Hong Kong business, that permits the individual to be an employee of that Hong Kong Company.

One of the main criteria is whether the applicant is able to prove that the business will make a significant contribution to the economy of Hong Kong. The entrepreneur visa is generally issued for an initial two-year period and is renewable thereafter as long as the business remains viable.

Eligibility Criteria
An applicant under this scheme must have no criminal record, meet the security requirements of Hong Kong, and provide evidence of a good educational background, ie a degree in the relevant field, good technical qualifications, relevant professional abilities, achievements and experience.

In addition, the applicant must be able to demonstrate that they will make a substantial contribution to the economy of Hong Kong through the creation of jobs for the local workforce, the use of the services of local service providers, suppliers, manufacturers etc. and that the company will make a contribution in the specific market that it is entering.

Investment Requirements
There is no minimum investment requirement. However, at the time of processing the application, the authorities will closely examine the proposed business plan to assess if the proposed investment is sufficient to set up the business. The applicant must ensure that the proposed investment covers the start-up and operational expenses of the business for at least the initial 3-6 month period.

Timeline
The time taken to process the application is about 4-6 weeks.

Hong Kong Employees Visa
Hong Kong has a special work permit scheme for hiring skilled foreign employees, Employment for Professionals.

Eligible applicants must have good educational qualifications and possess special skills, knowledge or experience of value, that are not readily available in Hong Kong. There is no quota system limiting the number of work visas under this scheme. Each application is assessed on the qualifications of the applicant and the employing company.

This type of work permit is normally issued for one year period initially and renewable thereafter.

Eligibility Criteria
An applicant under this scheme must have no criminal record, meet the security requirements of Hong Kong, and provide evidence of a good educational background ie a degree in the relevant field, good technical qualifications, relevant professional abilities, achievements and experience.

It is a requirement of the scheme that there is a genuine employment vacancy at the employing company which cannot be filled from the local workforce. The applicant must have a confirmed employment offer and the job matches the applicant’s academic qualifications or work experience. The applicant’s remuneration package, including income, accommodation, medical and other benefits is in line with the prevailing market in Hong Kong.

If the employing company is a new company, set up within the last 12 months a detailed business plan must also be provided.

Timeline
The application is processing in about 4-6 weeks. Most work permit visas under the Employment for Professional’s Scheme are issued for a one-year period.

Change of Employment
The work permit that is issued is tied to a specific employer and is not transferable. To change jobs, the applicant must first obtain approval by filing “Application for Change of Employment” with the Immigration Department.

Dependant Visa for Family
Individuals who hold a valid Hong Kong visa (ie Entrepreneurs Visa, Employment Visa and Permanent Visa) can apply for a Dependant Family Visa to bring their immediate family members into Hong Kong. A dependant family member is limited to the applicant’s spouse and unmarried dependant children under 18 years of age and allows the holder to take up employment or study in Hong Kong. The Dependant’s Visa is tied to the principal visa holder’s stay in Hong Kong. 

Permanent Residence
An individual, who has resided in Hong Kong for a continuous period of at least seven years, is eligible to apply for Permanent Residence, commonly referred to as a “Right of Abode” in Hong Kong.

December 2015

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