Expatriate: Getting An Employment Visa To Work In Hong Kong


One of the most common paths for an expatriate person to relocate and work in a company is Hong Kong is through his/her internal organization transfer. Getting a Hong Kong work visa may be both easy and difficult because it will depend on a few reasons. The first thing is that the Hong Kong Immigration Department will judge on the fact that why an expatriate in the western part of the world will be granted a HK visa for employment to work in a company located in Hong Kong, instead of a valid local resident person.

Whena person (i.e. an expatriate) is not yetgranted a visa to work in Hong Kong, the employer must apply for a work permit for the person. If the employer lets the person to work in HKwithout first getting a working visa, the employer would have committed an offense and may be subject to a fine of and the possibility of imprisonment. Also, a person may be previous granted a visitor visa to Hong Kong, which may probably be for a duration between 14 to 180 days. However, people on visitor visas are forbidden to take up employment in HK.

To make the explanation simpler, let us assume you are a person (i.e. an employee) from a foreign company being transferred from the head office to its Hong Kong branch company. Before becoming eligible for a transfer (or relocation), the employer must submit a Hong Kong work visa application with all the supporting documents. The documents would include the CV of the employee. The employer must provide a reason that is good enough i.e. a copy of a local job advertisement and the evidence of the applications of this very specific job (that the employer has received but has rejected).

A foreigner person who will have better chance to be granted an employment visa would possess some or all of the following criteria.

  • Past work experience that is highly relevant to the job description and is a very rare skill in HK locally. A local resident may not be able to fulfill the job description.
  • A generally higher level educational background such as a university graduate degree or above.
  • The employment can be proved to benefit the economy of the specific industry in HK. An example is that the expatriate will conduct training to the HK local workforce which would essentially and eventually pass this specific skill to the local residents (or employees).
  • A reasonable level of salary should be offered to the applicant.

The duration: From the day the application is submitted to the Hong Kong Immigration Department, it may take up to 6 or even 8 weeks for processing the application.

The last thing before the employee enters Hong Kong: Place the visa sticker in his/her passport so HK custom can validate the visa upon his HK entry.