Hong Kong’s Work Visa: A complete Guide for General Employment Policy (GEP) Visa 2024

Aspiring for a dynamic career in a global business hub with a vibrant cultural landscape? Hong Kong may be the ideal destination for you.

This bustling metropolis presents a captivating fusion of Eastern and Western influences, where towering skyscrapers stand alongside centuries-old temples, and world-renowned financial institutions coexist with Michelin-starred culinary establishments.

However, for foreign nationals seeking to thrive in this exhilarating city, securing a work visa is a crucial prerequisite.

This comprehensive guide will provide you with all the essential information needed to obtain a Hong Kong work visa, ensuring a seamless transition into your dream job within this remarkable city.

What is a Hong Kong work permit?

A work permit, also known as an employment visa, is a legal document that is granted by the Immigration Department of Hong Kong. It permits a foreign person to reside and work in Hong Kong for the period of the foreign national’s employment contract, usually for a set amount of duration. There are many types of work visas, each with a specific purpose. The most common type needed by foreign workers employed by non-Hong Kong enterprises is the General Employment Policy (GEP) visa. Professionals with special skills, expertise, or knowledge that is valuable to Hong Kong but not easily accessible there are the main candidates for this.

hong kong work visa guide

Who needs a Hong Kong work permit?

A work permit or employment visa is required for foreign national who intend to work in Hong Kong but are not citizens or permanent residents of the country. Citizens of several countries—such as Afghanistan, Nepal, Vietnam, Taiwan, and the Chinese mainland—are exempt from this rule and are subject to distinct laws in Hong Kong. Furthermore, graduates may work in Hong Kong through the Immigration Arrangements for Non-local Graduates (IANG) program if their university is accredited in Hong Kong. Specialized categories are also available for highly trained professionals under the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme and businesspeople under the Entrepreneur visa.

Benefits of General Employment Policy (GEP) Visa

  1. Spouse and children under 18 can apply for a dependant visa together with the principal applicant.
  2. Lower eligibility criteria — diploma is acceptable, with no strict limits on previous employers.
  3. Fast and simple — applicants can get the visa in about 2 months after submission, with no interview, no physical examination, no investment, etc.
  4. High success rate — the success rate can reach up to 90%.

Eligibility Criteria for General Employment Policy (GEP) Visa

A work visa is your best option if you’re a foreign person looking for work in Hong Kong or an employer looking to hire a foreign worker. Now, there are a few prerequisites that you must fulfill in order for your application to be accepted.

These are the requirements need to qualify:

Obtain a Job Offer: The cornerstone of your application is a verified job offer from a Hong Kong company that is duly registered. An actual job opening should correspond with the applicant’s qualifications and experience.

Demonstrate Your Qualifications: A degree that is relevant to the position being offered is highly valued, but strong academic credentials are also a plus. To strengthen their application, the candidate must show relevant work experience in the employer’s industry.

Competitive Salary Package: The employer’s salary offered must be competitive with the prevailing market rate for similar positions in Hong Kong. This ensures fairness for both the foreigner and the local workforce.

Employer Demonstration: Before making the offer to you, The Employer must demonstrate that they have actually tried to find qualified candidates locally. This is done to make sure that foreign workers are hired to cover roles that need specialized knowledge or expertise but aren’t filled by local talent pool.

Application Process for General Employment Policy (GEP) Visa

Acquiring a work visa for Hong Kong requires several important steps. You may guarantee a seamless application process by carefully following these steps:

Collect Necessary Documents: The company and the employee must gather a complete set of documents, which may include completed application forms, employment contracts, certifications of qualifications, passport information, and more. The Hong Kong Immigration Department will specify the precise requirements.

Employer Involvement: During the application procedure, the employer will be very important. Supporting documentation attesting to the validity of the job offer and their attempts to hire locally must be submitted.

Submission and Processing: After all paperwork is ready, the employee (or the employer) can send the application to the Hong Kong Immigration Department online or in person. Timelines for processing can differ, so make appropriate plans.

Visa Collection and Decision: After reviewing your application, the Immigration Department will let you know what they have decided. The employee can then pick up their visa and be ready for life in Hong Kong if they are successful.

Required Documents Needed for GEP

Required documents that the Work Permit Applicant must submit:

  • Filled-out application for a work visa
  • Copy of the employee’s passport’s personal information page. A copy of the passport page bearing the most recent arrival stamp or stay extension label is required if the traveler is still in Hong Kong.
  • A duplicate of the worker’s identity card from Hong Kong, if relevant
  • Proof of residing abroad
  • Proof of educational background and relevant job experience

Required documents that the Employing Company Must Provide:

  • Hong Kong Application for Employing Professionals
  • A copy of the employment contract or letter of appointment from the employer, which details the position, pay scale, benefits, and period of employment
  • A copy of the business registration certificate of the company
  • Demonstrating the financial standing of the business, such as the most recent audited financial report, trading profit and loss statement, or profit tax return
    Catalogs, brochures, and other supporting materials should be used to document the company’s history, business operations, product lines, sources, and markets, as well as any affiliation with the Chamber of Commerce. (not needed if supporting a graduate from outside the area)
  • In the event that the company that recruits was founded within the previous 12 months: Detailed business plan including details on sources of funding, projected capital injection, nature and mode of operations, anticipated turnover, sales volume, gross and net profit estimates, and suggested establishment of local job postings

Take note:

a. Employing companies that have obtained an employment or training visa/entry permit for a non-local staff member within the last 18 months prior to the application submission are exempt from submitting the aforementioned documents (apart from the professional employment application form).

b. All documentation needs to be in Chinese or English, or translated into Chinese or English by a certified translation body.

c. If more documentation is required, the immigration authorities have the right to request the applicant or the company that is hiring for additional documents needed.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

A work visa is required for anyone who wants to work in Hong Kong but isn’t a permanent resident.

Work visa holders in Hong Kong may be eligible to sponsor their spouse and dependent children for dependent visas, allowing them to reside in Hong Kong.

Generally speaking, those in Hong Kong with work visas who want to change employers must apply for a new visa. However, there are some exclusions, such as when the new employment is in the same industry.

Hong Kong does not typically require a criminal record check for work permit applications. However, the immigration office reserves the right to request one if necessary.

In Hong Kong, work visas are often granted for full-time employment. In some cases, part-time employment might be permitted; nonetheless, it’s important to confirm the precise rules with the Immigration Department.

If your work visa application is denied, you may appeal the decision or explore other visa options, depending on your circumstances. In such situations, it’s advisable to seek guidance from immigration professionals or legal experts.

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