Hong Kong has a country that has a rich history of inviting immigrants as foreign workers who contribute to the country’s economy in a big way. Skilled professionals choose Hong Kong immigration as a promising pathway to access great careers in industrial sectors like finance, IT, HR, and advertising. The dearness of local expertise in these industries is a major reason for Hong Kong to seek skilled hands from overseas.

The country has a presence of many multinational companies that offers attractive job positions to migrants. These skilled migrants come to the country on a Hong Kong work visa and realize their ambition to build a great career.

The country also has a rich cultural heritage that attracts visitors from across the world to come to the country on a Hong Kong visit visa.

It will be interesting to check out what Hong Kong immigration has in store for potential immigrants. It’s worthwhile to gain insight into the process and procedure of coming to the country on a Hong Kong work visa or Hong Kong visit visa. At best, you can choose Hong Kong immigration and settlement in the country with great future prospects.

About Hong Kong

Hong Kong is officially known as the HKSAR (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China). It’s a metropolitan area as well as a special administrative region of China.

One major advantage of Hong Kong immigration is that you will be moving to a country with an advanced economy with great opportunities for skilled workers. The region has a lowering crime rate and bettering life standards.

Hong Kong has also been successful in arresting the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic with swift measures taken.

Hong Kong has developed itself into a prosperous and modern country. Hong Kong is home to the 7th largest number of billionaires in any region of the world.  The region hence has the presence of highly luxurious infrastructure like high-end shopping centers, top-class world-class apartment complexes, and world-class restaurants.

Hong Kong is also the world’s 4th most populous city. People of various economic strata live in various tower blocks of the city.

Why settle in Hong Kong?

Immigrants choose Hong Kong immigration due to the following reasons:

  • Hong Kong is a hub of commerce and industry, with a highly competitive yet opportunity-loaded economy and the job market.
  • The region is home to many multinational companies in major industries like IT, HR, finance, and advertising.
  • Foreigners with years of work experience can expect to get high wages in Hong Kong.
  • Though Cantonese is the first language in Hong Kong, English is widely spoken, especially in professional circles. The companies that employ foreigners expect you to communicate well in English.
  • Wi-Fi is freely available in Hong Kong and is widely accessible.
  • Hong Kong has one of the best healthcare systems in the world. You will get the benefits of a subsidized (free or small fee) public healthcare system if you have a Smart ID card. This means that even non-permanent residents can get treatment via this public healthcare system.
Prominent cities in Hong Kong

There are no cities defined by the government of Hong Kong. However, there are 2 urban settlements identified in Hong Kong.

Victoria City

It was the capital of Hong Kong during the period when it was a British territory. Now, it’s the legally recognized capital of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of the People’s Republic of China.


Kowloon is an urban area in Hong Kong. The area comprises New Kowloon and the Kowloon Peninsula.

How to settle in Hong Kong – Main Hong Kong immigration pathways

Hong Kong immigration can be done through the following visa categories:

Hong Kong quality Admission Scheme

If you are an immigrant with skills relevant to the requirements of Hong Kong, this visa category can be used. With opportunities for better career growth, Hong Kong invites immigrants who are capable of contributing to the region’s economic growth.

Certificate of Entitlement (COE) 

If you are living outside Hong Kong and want to claim permanent residence in the HKSAR, they have to apply for the Certificate of Entitlement (COE).

General Employment Policy (GEP)

If you are an applicant wanting to enter Hong Kong to obtain a job as a professional, you must apply for a visa under GEP. You must possess the skills and experience that are in demand in Hong Kong.

Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals (ASMTP)

If you want to live in Hong Kong to work as a professional, you may apply for a visa under ASMTP. You must possess good qualifications as well as have a confirmed offer of employment.

TechTAS (Technology Talent Admission Scheme)

TechTAS is a fast-track pathway for you if you are willing to enter or live in HKSAR for the sake of employment. This scheme provides the fast-track arrangement companies deemed eligible need to give admission to tech talents overseas to undertake R&D work for them in the HKSAR.

The company that wants to recruit an immigrant will apply for a quota first. When ITC allots the quota, the company can sponsor a foreign worker for an entry permit/employment visa within the quota validity period of 12 months.

Hong Kong visit visa/transit visa

Here are some of the Hong Kong visit visa categories:

Working Holiday Scheme

This scheme is to exchange the cultural relations between Hong Kong and the countries participating in the scheme. For eligibility to apply, you must be of 18 to 30 years of age. You must also desire to pay a visit to Hong Kong as a vacation. You may be enrolled in a short-term study course. You could work for a short-term period of time.

Visit/Transit visa

If you require a visit/work permit in the HKSAR or want to stay in HKSAR for more time than allotted or you can’t get the benefit of visa waiver concession, you must obtain a visa/work permit before arriving in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Travel Pass

This travel pass scheme features a simplified procedure for business travelers  so as to boost their mobility in coming to the HKSAR. The pass has a validity of 3 years. It gives the privilege of visiting Hong Kong more than one time to stay for 2 months on every trip.

APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) Scheme

The scheme is for business people who want to hold the APEC Business Travel Card within the APEC economies. The visa is valid for up to 5 years.

Note: With effect from December 28, 2021, the “e-Visa” and electronic services for arranging visa application has been implemented by the Immigration Department.
Hong Kong immigration process

You can apply for a visa for Hong Kong immigration via the e-Visa system. This is how the process for applying for an Entry Visa/Permit or stay extension works:

  • You apply for the visa online, by post, or in person.
  • For applications approved on or after Dec 28, 2021
    • Pay fees online or pay with a GDN (General Demand Note) [where applicable] or pay at an immigration office
    • Print/download the e-Visa online
  • For applications approved before Dec 28, 2021, but visas are pending collection on Dec 28, 2021
    • Pay with a GDN (General Demand Note) [where applicable] or pay at an immigration office
    • Print/download the e-Visa online or get the e-Visa in print

If you are attempting to immigrate to Hong Kong as a job seeker, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Your age should be 18 years or more.
  • You must be skilled in communication and be proficient in the English language. An average IELTS score of 6.0 is required to apply for a Hong Kong work visa.
  • You must give evidence stating that you are of good character and have never been involved in any illegal activities. You must submit your past records from the countries you have resided in for the last 10 months in the past 10 years.
  • You must have adequate funds to support yourself in Hong Kong while you stay in the country. You must manage all the expenses including living costs, accommodation, and transportation costs.
How long will the application process for a Hong Kong visa take?

In general, the process takes 4 to 6 weeks from the date of submission. As an exception, if it’s a right of abode application, it will take 6-12 weeks. Processing time can vary for individuals subject to the applicant’s background, the timely submission of all documents, and the sponsor company.

What’s an HKID and how can I get it?

If any of your Hong Kong visas are approved that have validity for more than 6 months (except visitor/prolonged visitor visa) you can apply for an HKID card. The HKID card is an identification of your status in Hong Kong. You must bring it with you at all times in Hong Kong.

After getting an employment visa, will I be allowed to work in Hong Kong for any employer I want to work for?

No. This is because an employment visa is tied to a specific sponsor/employer company that gave support for the initial application. In case you wish to change your employer, you will have to apply for a change of sponsorship prior to taking up a job with your new employer. It’s illegal to work for a different company without completing this process.

Am I allowed to apply for an employment visa in Hong Kong in case I’m offered part-time job in Hong Kong?

No. Every employment visa application has to be granted sponsorship by a local company that with which you will be engaged as a full-time employee.

If I’m holding an employment visa, will I be able to apply for a dependant visa for my parents?

No. Unless you are a permanent resident in Hong Kong, you are not eligible to apply for a dependant visa for your parents. In case you have an exceptional reason, Hong Kong Immigration will take it into consideration and grant prolonged visas for your parents.

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