Published 11 July 2018 Category: Compass Tips, Careers, Human Resources

Obtaining a Work Visa in Hong Kong: Tips for Employees & Entrepreneurs

Hong Kong is the world’s largest economical hub with a bustling business community and a hub for international expats. That being said, obtaining a Hong Kong work visa or a Hong Kong entrepreneur visa is not an easy feat. You may be asked to show a pile of paperwork and should be able to prove that you meet all eligibility criteria for the visa. Details about eligibility criteria and other important information can be officially obtained from the Hong Kong Department of Immigration.
 
If you’re planning to work in Hong Kong or to start a business as an entrepreneur, there are important visa rules and regulations that you need to be aware of.
 

Understanding Hong Kong Visa Requirements

Hong Kong’s work and entrepreneur visas are covered under a policy known as the General Employment Policy which is created specifically for professionals and entrepreneurs. Each of these visas have various staying limitations. Recently enhancements by the government allows a staying duration of two to three years.
 
Individuals who want to work in Hong Kong will need to obtain a work visa under the General Employment Policy scheme with the following key requirements: 

  1. Secured a job relevant to his/her academic qualifications or work experience that cannot be readily taken up by the local workforce.
  2. Remuneration package is commensurate with the prevailing market rate.
  3. ​Good education background, technical qualifications or proven professional experience.


It is important to note that people some countries can enter Hong Kong visa free for tourism purpose and can stay up to six months. However, if they plan to take up employment, they will have to do so by applying for the GEP visa. Additionally, there are other important pointers that determines the eligibility of an individual applying for the visa such as a good education background, no record of criminal prosecution, a genuine job vacancy and a legitimate employment offer from the company.
 

Getting a Hong Kong Entrepreneur Visa

Another category of visas popular with international expats is that of the entrepreneur visa which also comes under the General Employment Policy. However this type of visa has a different set of criteria apart from the basic requirements of no criminal offence and educational qualifications. To qualify for this visa, the individual is required to demonstrate a two-year business plan that should include the nature of the business, market analysis, market positioning, business direction, sales targets, product marketing strategy, etc.
 
Additionally, the applicant is also required to submit a detailed two-year forecast of the profit-and-loss account statement, cash flow statement and balance sheet to demonstrate business operations and profitability.  Other essential documents are a business turnover plan, financial resources that includes the financial statements of the individual, the investment sum, and the number of jobs that this business will create locally. All applicants will be going through a rigorous vetting and selection process and plans will be scrutinized before a visa is granted. Once the individual receives the visa though, they can bring spouse and unmarried dependent children under the age of 18.
 

Hong Kong Visa Processing Time

Prior to applying for the visa, you should ensure that you meet all requirements as provided by the government. With the right paperwork and nothing missing, the entire process can take as little as four weeks to get done. Missing paperwork however can either cause a delay or can cause the visa officer to deny your application.
 
Working in Hong Kong is an amazing learning experience and opens doors to plenty of opportunities however, to get in, you need to have strong paperwork and a legal expert who can guide you through the complicated visa process. 
 
Compass Offices’ sister company, Encore Professional Services provides a range of services designed to help get your business up and running. Find out more here.