Work Permits in Hong Kong

Understand the requirements for expats coming to Hong Kong for work or self-employment...

Moving to Hong Kong for job-related purposes requires a work visa permit application under the General Employment Policy (GEP). The Immigration Department has more information on the General Employment Policy.

Employment as a professional or entry for investment

An application for an entry visa/permit to enter Hong Kong for either work or investment will be considered more favourably if the following criteria are met:

  • The applicant has no criminal record
  • The applicant has good qualifications and/or professional experience
  • The applicant already has an employment offer
  • The employer is offering a package that includes income, accommodation, medical and other benefits on the same level as for professionals in Hong Kong

Other things taken into consideration include whether the vacancy can be filled locally, if the applicant's skills are relevant to the job, whether the applicant has any special skills and whether there is a genuine vacancy for the job in Hong Kong.

If the application is successful the person may bring in their spouse and unmarried dependent children under the age of 18. When applying for the entry visa, passports and birth certificates are required and spouses need to provide a copy of their marriage certificate.

Self-employed people

Anyone applying for an investment visa for self-employment must provide documentation detailing the following:

  • Educational background
  • Professional qualifications
  • The proposed business and capital
  • Information about how the business will benefit Hong Kong and whether a local work force will be employed

Investment-based employment visas are becoming more difficult to obtain. The most important criteria includes proof that the business is well capitalised and will be able to set up office and employ local staff fairly immediately, and the support of another well-established business, whether local or overseas.

Other work visas

A number of other work visas are available under the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme (although currently suspended), Working Holiday Scheme and Quality Migrant Admission Scheme.

How to Apply for an Employment Visa

Applications are usually made by the company that is sponsoring the employee, although in some cases the employee needs to make the application themselves.

To submit an application, the applicant should complete the relevant form, attach a photograph and send it to the Hong Kong Immigration Department with the following:

  • Photocopy of the sponsor's Hong Kong identity card
  • Photocopies of the applicant's passport containing personal details, date of issue, date of expiry and details of any re-entry visa held
  • One additional identical photograph of the applicant

Where to apply

Visa applications can be sent directly or by the Hong Kong-based sponsor to:

  • The Receipt and Despatch Unit
    Hong Kong Immigration Department
    At: 2/F, Immigration Tower, 7 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Alternatively, the application can be sent to the Chinese consular section of the applicant's place of residence.

It may take between four and six weeks to process the employment visa. Visas are usually valid for one year and can be renewed for one, two or three years depending on the type of work contract.

Note: Employment visas cannot be transferred from one job to another so anyone leaving a job must apply for another visa before starting a different job. If a sponsored employee leaves a company, the employer should notify the Immigration Department. Internal company employee transfers are permitted for those who have worked for more than 12 months in an overseas office.

For more information, contact:

Further Information