Eligibility Criteria for Employment Visa in Hong Kong


In Hong Kong, non-Chinese foreigners must have a visa in order to be hired by a local company and work as an employee. This is known as an Employment Visa, which the company applies for as a ‘sponsor’ for the employee, or ‘applicant’.

Criterias for eligibility

The General Employment Policy (GEP) outlines the following work visa screening criteria of the Immigration Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR):

A. there is no security objection and no known record of serious crime in respect of the applicant;

B. the applicant has a good educational 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;

C. there is a genuine job vacancy;

D. 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 workforce; and

E. the remuneration package – including income, accommodation, medical and other fringe benefits – is broadly commensurate with the prevailing market level for professionals in the HKSAR.

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Decision process and conditions to get an employment visa in Hong Kong

The Hong Kong government is concerned that foreigners might take employment opportunities from local Hong Kong residents. Therefore, it is vital to prove that the applicant has special skills, knowledge, and experience that locals do not have and can contribute to the Hong Kong economy.

The sponsor company must also clearly demonstrate the specific reason why this applicant is needed for the position and why the applicant is qualified for it. If there is a mismatch between the applicant concerned and the sponsor’s company, the work visa is likely to be rejected, so prior confirmation is important.

In addition, the Immigration Department reviews both the applicant and the sponsor. Thus, even if the applicant meets the above GEP criteria, the application may still be declined if the sponsor has just been established or has had a low turnover for more than two years. In such cases, please note that it is necessary to prepare and submit not only the required documents but also explanatory materials to convince the Hong Kong Immigration examiner, depending on the situation.

In the examination for the sponsor, the point is how much it contributes to / is likely to contribute to the Hong Kong economy. Moreover, if the sponsor employs local staff, it will work positively in the examination, so please be specific in the application documents with the actual numbers.

The sponsor also needs to prove that they have made efforts to recruit from the local market from the beginning. As documentary evidence, the sponsor is recommended to provide the advertisement of job vacancy, specific number of candidates, and the status of each candidate with the explanation of why the other candidates were unsuccessful.





In conclusion, the applicant needs to prove his/her special knowledge and experience. Moreover, it is necessary for the sponsor to provide specific explanations of how the applicant and the sponsor will contribute to Hong Kong’s economy. These will bring a higher chance of success when applying for an Employment Visa in Hong Kong.


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