The special administrative region of Hong Kong, while technically part of China, has its own set of laws and employment regulations. As a result of its colonial history, these laws are distinct from mainland China. One key difference is in the work visa system, which you will need to navigate if you want to bring your own employees in from abroad.
Applying for and acquiring a Hong Kong work visa for your employees can be a complex process. The rules and procedures can take time to follow, potentially leading to costly delays to your expansion plans.
At Horizons, our global expansion experts provide comprehensive Hong Kong visa services, immigration advice, and tailored support, helping foreign businesses commence their Hong Kong expansion quickly and compliantly.
Basic criteria for Hong Kong work permits
The criteria for work visas in Hong Kong vary depending on the type of visa, as there are several different options available. In most cases, visas for people trying to work in Hong Kong need to have secured a job offer, although this is not always necessary for some types of visa. Additionally, individuals will usually need a certain level of education and work experience.
Due to the different requirements, it is important to know what visa types are most suitable for each employee before starting the application process.
Types of work visas in Hong Kong
There are several different work visas available, each of which has different requirements and give workers different rights. Some of the most common visa types are:
- General employment policy (GEP) visas
- Training visas
- Quality migrant admission scheme visas
- Technology talent admission scheme visas
Of these examples, GEP visas are the most common category. They apply for a fixed period of time and require an employee to agree to act as a sponsor for the designated visa term.
The technology talent and quality migrant admission schemes are less common. Visa numbers are limited, they require particular education/work experience, and they are more suited to individuals rather than employees already affiliated with a company. Training visas could be suitable for some of your workforce, but trainees would often be more flexible under a GEP visa.
Getting a work permit in Hong Kong
Once you have determined the most suitable type of work visa for your employees, Hong Kong visa applications must be carried out by mail or in person at an official immigration office. Applications must be handled in English or Chinese and applicants must have a valid passport or another accepted travel document. You may need to pay fees for the applications, which vary depending on the type of visa.
Other Hong Kong visa considerations
Families of employees are common additional considerations and can complicate matters further. To bring a family, a worker will need to provide proof of marriage and have dependent children who are below the age of 18. They will also meet to prove that they are able to support their family through earnings and savings. Also, if family members want to work in Hong Kong then they will need separate visas. Make sure you leave good time to organize family visas as the process could take some time to complete.
How can Horizons assist with your Hong Kong work visas?
At Horizons, we help organizations expand their operations into Hong Kong, and we’re experts in securing work visas for employees. Our Hong Kong experts will work with you to offer bespoke support, advice, and guidance for navigating the difficult Hong Kong work visa process. We will help you stay fully compliant with Hong Kong’s employment and immigration regulations, save you time, and answer any questions you might have.
In addition, we provide extensive outsourcing services covering recruitment, payroll, HR, administration, and more to help your business start trading in Hong Kong as quickly and efficiently as possible.