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Hong Kong Work Visa: The Ultimate Guide

working visa in hong kong


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Hong Kong has a work visa system that allows foreign professionals to live and work in the territory. The most common type of work visa is the General Employment Policy (GEP) visa.

Key Takeaways

To qualify for a working visa in Hong Kong, you need to secure a job offer from a registered company, demonstrate relevant qualifications and work experience, and ensure the salary offered is competitive with the local market rate.

Your employer must show that they've made efforts to hire locally before offering you the position.

Hong Kong offers various types of work visas to cater to different employment needs. These include the GEP Visa for professionals, the ASMTP for talent from mainland China, the Investment Visa Scheme for entrepreneurs, the Working Holiday Visa for temporary work and travel, and the QMAS for individuals in specific fields.

Obtaining a Hong Kong work visa involves gathering the required documents, which include forms, contracts, and qualifications. Your employer also submits supporting documents.

Documents required for the work permit applicant include completed application forms, passport copies, academic qualifications, and proof of overseas residence.

Documents required for the employing company may include application forms, employment contracts, financial statements, and business plans.

Securing a Hong Kong work visa, particularly the GEP Visa, requires careful planning and preparation.

Dreaming of a dynamic career in a global business hub with a vibrant culture? Then, Hong Kong might be your perfect match.

This bustling metropolis offers a unique blend of East and West, with soaring skyscrapers meeting ancient temples and world-class financial institutions nestled alongside Michelin-starred restaurants.

However, if you're a foreign national seeking to thrive in this exciting city, securing a work visa is crucial.

This essential guide will explain everything you need to know about obtaining an HK work visa, ensuring a smooth transition into your dream job in this remarkable city.

Eligibility Criteria

If you're a foreign national seeking employment in Hong Kong or an employer looking to hire a foreigner, a work visa is your golden ticket. Now, to ensure a successful application, you'll need to meet some key requirements.

Here's what you'll need to qualify:

  1. Secure a Job Offer: The cornerstone of your application is a confirmed job offer from a legally registered company in Hong Kong. The genuine job vacancy should be for a position that aligns with the candidate's skills and experience.
  2. Demonstrate Qualifications: Strong academic qualifications are a plus, with a degree relevant to the offered job holding significant weight. The employee must demonstrate relevant work experience in the employer's field to further strengthen their application.
  3. Competitive Salary Package: The salary offered by the employer must be competitive with the prevailing market rate for similar positions in Hong Kong. This ensures fairness for both the foreigner and the local workforce.
  4. Employer Demonstration: It's important to note that your employer will also need to demonstrate that they have made a genuine effort to recruit qualified candidates locally before extending the offer to you. This is to ensure that foreign workers are brought in to fill positions with specific skills or experience that are lacking in the local talent pool.

Employers must show efforts to hire locally before offering positions to foreigners.

Types of Work Visas

Hong Kong's immigration system offers a range of work visa categories to cater to diverse employment needs. Here's a quick glimpse at some of the main options:

  • General Employment Policy (GEP) Visa: This is the most common visa for foreign professionals with in-demand skills and experience. It streamlines the application process for those filling specific niches in the Hong Kong job market.
  • Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals (ASMTP): This scheme targets talent specifically from mainland China, offering a pathway for them to work and live in Hong Kong.
  • Investment Visa Scheme: This visa caters to foreign entrepreneurs who wish to establish or join a business in Hong Kong.
  • Working Holiday Visa: This visa is geared towards young individuals seeking temporary work and travel experience in Hong Kong. Eligibility requirements and duration of stay are different from standard work visas.
  • Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS): This quota-based scheme allows individuals in specific fields (IT, finance, legal services) to explore employment opportunities in Hong Kong without a confirmed job offer beforehand.

While these are some of the main categories, it's important to note that specific eligibility criteria apply to each visa type.

In the next section, we'll focus on the most common route for foreign professionals, the General Employment Policy (GEP) Visa, and provide a detailed breakdown of the application process.

working visa application hong kong

Application Process

Obtaining a Hong Kong work visa involves a few key steps. By following these procedures carefully, you can ensure a smooth application journey:

  1. Gather Required Documents: Both the employee and employer need to compile a comprehensive set of documents, including completed application forms, employment contracts, proof of qualifications, passport details, and potentially more. The exact requirements will be outlined by the Hong Kong Immigration Department.
  2. Employer Involvement: The employer will play a crucial role in the application process. They will need to submit supporting documents showcasing the legitimacy of the job offer and their efforts to recruit locally.
  3. Submission and Processing: Once all documents are prepared, the employee (or the employer) can submit the application electronically or in person to the Hong Kong Immigration Department. Processing timelines can vary, so plan accordingly.
  4. Decision and Visa Collection: The Immigration Department will review your application and notify you of their decision. If successful, the employee can then collect the visa and prepare for their life in Hong Kong.

We'll delve deeper into the specific documents required and explore additional considerations in the following sections.

Documents Needed

Documents Required from the Work Permit Applicant:

  • Completed Employment Visa Application Form
  • Copy of the personal particulars page of the employee's passport. If currently staying in Hong Kong, a copy of the passport page with the latest arrival stamp/extension of stay label must be included.
  • Copy of the employee's Hong Kong identity card (if applicable)
  • Proof of overseas residence
  • Proof of academic qualifications and relevant work experience

Documents Required from the Employing Company:

  • Application for Employing Professionals in Hong Kong
  • Copy of the company’s employment contract or letter of appointment, specifying post, salaries, fringe benefits, and employment periods
  • Copy of the company’s Business Registration Certificate
  • Proof of the company’s financial standing, such as the latest audited financial report, trading profit and loss account, or profit tax return
  • Documentation detailing the company’s background, including business activities, mode of operation, company background/connection, product ranges, sources and markets, and Chamber of Commerce membership (if any), supported by catalogs, brochures, etc. (not required if sponsoring a non-local graduate)
  • If the employing company was newly established within the last 12 months: Detailed business plan, including information on the source of funds, estimated capital injection, nature/mode of business activities, expected turnover, sales volume, gross and net profit projections, and proposed creation of local job posts


a. Employing companies need not submit the mentioned documents (except the application form for employing professionals) if they obtained an employment or training visa/entry permit for a non-local staff in the past 18 months immediately before application submission.

b. All documents must be in English or Chinese or translated into English or Chinese by a certified translation body.

c. The Immigration authorities reserve the right to request additional documents from the applicant or employing company as needed.


Staying updated on immigration policies is crucial for successful visa applications.

Additional Considerations

While the prospect of working in Hong Kong is exciting, there are some additional considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Costs: The work visa application process involves fees, including government processing charges and potentially agent fees, if you choose to utilize their services. Be sure to factor these costs into your overall planning.
  2. Visa Renewal and Extension: The GEP visa is typically issued for an initial period, often tied to the duration of your employment contract. However, there are provisions for renewal and extension, allowing you to continue working in Hong Kong after the initial visa period expires.
  3. Processing Timeline: Processing timelines for work visa applications can vary depending on individual circumstances and the current workload at the Immigration Department. It's generally recommended to factor in several weeks for processing, so plan accordingly.
  4. Stay Informed: For the latest information and the most up-to-date application forms and requirements, refer directly to the Hong Kong Immigration Department website.

By carefully considering these additional points and thoroughly preparing your application, you'll be well on your way to securing your Hong Kong work visa and embarking on a rewarding career in this dynamic city.


Landing your dream job in Hong Kong? A work visa is your key.

The General Employment Policy (GEP) Visa is the most common route for foreign professionals with in-demand skills. Once you have a qualifying offer, gather the required documents (forms, contracts, qualifications), as your employer will, too (to prove the job offer's legitimacy and local recruitment efforts). Submit electronically or in person to the Immigration Department. Processing timelines vary, so plan ahead.

Remember, there are additional considerations: application fees, visa renewal options, and processing times that can take weeks. Stay informed by checking the Hong Kong Immigration Department website for the latest updates.

With careful planning and a well-prepared application, you'll be on your way to securing your Hong Kong work visa and launching a rewarding career in this dynamic city!

Need help or have any questions? Reach out to Air Corporate today.


Any individual who wishes to work in Hong Kong and is not a permanent resident must obtain a work visa.

In most cases, work visas in Hong Kong are issued for full-time employment. Part-time work may be allowed under certain circumstances, but it's essential to check with the Immigration Department for specific regulations.

Work visa holders in Hong Kong may be eligible to sponsor their spouse and dependent children for dependent visas, allowing them to reside in Hong Kong.

If your employment ends while you're on a work visa, you're typically required to notify the Immigration Department and make arrangements to either leave Hong Kong or apply for a new visa status, such as a visitor visa.

Generally, work visa holders in Hong Kong need to apply for a new visa if they wish to change employers. However, there are some exceptions, such as if the new employment falls within the same job category.

If your work visa application is denied, you may appeal the decision or explore other visa options, depending on your circumstances. In such situations, it's advisable to seek guidance from immigration professionals or legal experts.

Creating a company for the sole purpose of sponsoring your work visa application may not work. Obtaining a work visa is subject to the employer demonstrating sufficient substance (financial statements, bank account balance, business plan). If you just created your company and try to use it to sponsor your work visa application, your visa is likely to be rejected. However, if your company was created for some time and has an actual business and revenue, it may be able to successfully support your visa application.


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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