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Employer's Guide to Successful Working Visa Applications in Hong Kong

Working Visa Applications for employers


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Employment Visa Application Process for Employers


  1. Select the Right Candidate
  2. Have a Competitive Offer
  3. Document Local Recruitment Efforts

Application Package Preparation

  1. Complete Documentation
  2. Meet Translation Requirements
  3. Follow the Guidelines

A smooth and efficient working visa application Hong Kong is crucial for both employers and prospective employees.

This handbook will equip an employing company with the knowledge and strategies to navigate the application process, ensuring a seamless path for foreign hires and maximizing chances of success.

Let's dive in and explore the steps to a successful application for Hong Kong work visas.

General Employment Policy (GEP) Visa: A Deep Dive for Hong Kong Employers

Hong Kong's GEP visa, a quality migrant admission scheme, is the go-to option when hiring foreign talents for your Hong Kong business. Here's what makes it so employer-friendly:

  • No Quota Hassles: Unlike some visa programs, the GEP doesn't restrict the number of applications you can submit. This means you have the freedom to find the perfect candidate without limitations.
  • Focused on Expertise: The GEP targets skilled professionals with knowledge and experience that might be scarce in the local job market. This allows you to fill crucial gaps in your team and access a wider talent pool.
  • Streamlined Process & Flexibility: The application process is designed for efficiency, minimizing delays. Additionally, initial visas can be issued for up to 3 years, often aligning with typical employment contracts. Plus, extensions are relatively straightforward, ensuring continuity for your foreign hire.

In short, the GEP visa helps you secure the talent you need quickly and efficiently. This translates into less time spent on paperwork and more time focusing on building a strong and successful team within your Hong Kong business.

Understanding the Hong Kong Employment Visa Requirements

We'll break down the essential supporting documents you'll need to provide, both for your Hong Kong company and your chosen candidate. Since immigration authorities require clear documentation to assess your application, this section will equip you with a clear roadmap.

Foreign Employee Requirements

To ensure your foreign candidate presents a compelling case, they'll need to provide the following documentation:

  1. Valid Passport: This is the foundation of any visa application. Ensure the passport has sufficient validity (typically at least 6 months beyond the intended stay).
  2. Proof of Residence Outside Hong Kong: This could include a utility bill, rental agreement, or other documents verifying their current overseas residence.
  3. Academic Qualifications: Diplomas, transcripts, or certificates demonstrating their educational background relevant to the offered position.
  4. Work Experience Certificates: These documents should come from previous employers and verify the candidate's professional experience and skills.
  5. Professional Licenses (if applicable): If the position requires specific professional certifications, include documented proof of licensure.

Beyond Documentation: Eligibility Matters

While documentation is crucial, meeting the Hong Kong Immigration Department's eligibility criteria is equally important. Here's where your chosen candidate's skills and experience come into play:

  • In-Demand Occupations List: The Immigration Department maintains a list of professions considered to be in high demand within Hong Kong. If your candidate's field falls on this list, it strengthens the application.
  • Demonstrably Relevant Experience: Even if the specific occupation isn't on the list, your candidate's experience should clearly demonstrate a strong fit for the offered position. This highlights the lack of readily available local talent for the role.

By carefully gathering the necessary documentation and ensuring your candidate meets the eligibility criteria, you'll be well on your way to a successful Hong Kong work permit application.

Employer Requirements

As the employer sponsoring the GEP visa application, you'll need to provide specific documentation to demonstrate both the legitimacy of the job offer and your commitment to exploring local recruitment options. Here's what you'll need:

  1. Company Registration Certificate: This verifies the legal existence and good standing of your business in Hong Kong.
  2. Proof of Financial Standing: The Immigration Department wants to ensure your company has the financial resources to support the offered position. This could involve submitting your latest audited financial report or tax return.
  3. Detailed Company Profile: Provide a clear overview of your company's activities, structure, and size. This helps the department understand your business needs and the context of the job offer.

Demonstrating a Genuine Job Vacancy

The GEP visa emphasizes the importance of a genuine job offer. Here's how to showcase its legitimacy:

  • Competitive Salary & Benefits: Ensure the advertised salary and benefits package are in line with the market rate for the specific position and experience level.
  • Detailed Employment Contract: A well-defined contract outlining the job duties, responsibilities, and compensation package strengthens your application.

Local Recruitment Efforts: Leaving No Stone Unturned

The GEP visa program encourages employers to explore a wide range of talent pools, including those in mainland China and Hong Kong. Here's how to document your efforts:

  • Job Advertisements: Maintain records of advertising the position on relevant platforms used by mainland talents.
  • Recruitment Agencies: Consider partnering with local recruitment agencies to widen your search for qualified candidates.

By providing comprehensive documentation and taking these steps, you'll assure the Immigration Department that you're a responsible employer committed to exploring all options before seeking foreign talent. This strengthens your application and increases your chances of a successful outcome.

Employment Visa Application for Employers

Streamlining the Employment Visa Application Process for Employers

Here's how to streamline your employment visa application as an employer:


  • Select the Right Candidate: Finding the ideal candidate is crucial. Look for someone whose qualifications demonstrably align with the specific requirements and responsibilities of the offered position. Skills on the "In-demand Occupations List" are a plus, but strong, relevant experience can be equally compelling.
  • Have a Competitive Offer: Don't underestimate the power of a competitive salary and benefits package. This attracts top talent and strengthens your application by highlighting your commitment to attracting the best.
  • Document Local Recruitment Efforts: Document your efforts to find qualified local candidates. Advertise the position on relevant job boards, collaborate with recruitment agencies specializing in your industry, or consider attending job fairs targeting local talent.

Application Package Preparation

  • Complete Documentation: This is paramount. Ensure all documents you and your candidate provide are complete, accurate, and up-to-date. Double-check for any discrepancies or missing information and address them promptly to avoid delays.
  • Meet Translation Requirements: If any documents are not originally in English or Chinese, official translations are mandatory.
  • Follow the Guidelines: The Hong Kong Immigration Department has specific application guidelines. Strictly adhere to them, including using the latest application forms and following the prescribed submission format. This minimizes the risk of errors or rejection due to technicalities.

Additional Considerations

While the GEP visa offers a smooth path, there are a few additional factors to consider when planning your foreign hire:

Costs Involved

Be prepared for some associated costs:

  • Government Processing Fees: The Hong Kong Immigration Department charges processing fees for visa applications. Factor these costs into your overall hiring budget.
  • Immigration Agent Fees (Optional): While not mandatory, some employers choose to utilize immigration agents to assist with the application process. Their fees will vary depending on the service level provided.

Processing Timelines

The Immigration Department typically processes GEP visa applications within a few weeks. However, this timeframe can vary depending on individual circumstances and their current workload. It's wise to factor in processing time when planning your hiring timeline to avoid any delays in onboarding your new hire.

Visa Renewal and Extension

GEP visas are typically issued for an initial period, often aligned with the duration of the employment contract. Fortunately, renewal and extension procedures are generally straightforward. You'll need to submit updated documentation from both the employer and employee, and there may be minor changes in eligibility criteria during renewals.

Dependent Visa

For some employers, sponsoring a dependent visa for the spouse or children of the foreign talent might be another relevant consideration.


Hong Kong's success hinges on global talent. The GEP visa streamlines your access to these highly skilled professionals.

This guide empowered you to navigate the work visa application process for a smooth experience.

Remember: strong candidate, competitive offer, documented local recruitment efforts. A well-prepared application following the guidelines is key to success.

Explore the Hong Kong Immigration Department's resources for further details. With this knowledge, you're ready to build your global dream team in Hong Kong.

Need help with applying for Hong Kong visas for your foreign talents to boost your business activities? Get in touch with Air Corporate today!


Vivian Au

For many years, I worked at big accounting and company secretary firms in Hong Kong. I started Air Corporate to make the life of entrepreneurs and SMEs easy.

Vivian Au


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