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Quick Guide to Hong Kong Immigration

Quick Guide to Hong Kong Immigration
Hong Kong is described as a “City of Immigrants”, and is home to large Chinese, British, European and South Asian communities. It’s immigration policies are relatively open and designed to attract skilled and in-demand foreign talent to the region.

How to migrate to and work in Hong Kong

For skilled foreign workers looking to migrate to Hong Kong, there are two main routes available. 

Hong Kong General Employment Policy (GEP)

For the General Employment Policy (GEP) visa stream candidates must have and be able to demonstrate an offer of employment, appropriate to their skills and experience and where there is not a resident of Hong Kong available to take the position. There must be a valid vacancy, with a salary and benefits commensurate with similar vacancies in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). 

Candidates must have a good education level, preferably a degree in a related field but exceptions are made if the skills and experience required for the job can be proven. Usual general immigration criteria apply such as not being a security risk, having committed no serious crimes, having valid and good status in the applicant’s country of citizenship, and being in good health and not be likely to be a burden the HKSAR. 

In 2015, 34,503 migrants were admitted to Honk Kong under the GEP visa.

The Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS)

Introduced in 2006 to attract highly skilled professional foreign workers and entrepreneurs the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS) does not require a job offer for the applicant to enter and stay in Hong Kong. 

The scheme is points based, with eligibility criteria and has a cap of 1,000 candidates per year. Pre-requisites for the scheme include being over 18 and of good character (e.g. no criminal convictions), proficiency in English or Chinese, and have a good educational history or work experience and skill base. Applicants must also be able to demonstrate they can support themselves financially. 

Applicants who meet these criteria are then assessed under the General Points Test or the Achievement-based Points Test then compete for a place in the quota allocation. Successful candidates can bring their dependants if they are able to support them. The aim of the QMAS is ultimate to increase Hong Kong’s economic competitiveness by encouraging immigration to Hong Kong. 

The General Points Test awards point based on age, qualifications, work experience, language proficiency, family background, spousal qualifications, and children. The Achievement-based points test is a more difficult scheme to migrate to Hong Kong but a large number of points are awarded if a candidate is proven to have a lifetime achievement, for example, an Olympic Medal, Nobel Prize or is internationally recognised or awarded in their field.

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