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Hong Kong – New Initiatives And Enhancement Measures Related To The Admission Of Talents, Professionals And Entrepreneurs.

11 March, 2015

 

In February 2015, the Hong Kong Immigration Department (“HKID”) announced new initiatives and enhancement measures to Hong Kong immigration policies governing the admission of talent, professionals and entrepreneurs.  The new initiatives and enhancement measures will take effect in the second quarter of 2015, superseding existing admission arrangements.

Key Initiatives and Enhancements for Employment-Based Admissions

Relaxed Stay Arrangements for applicants under General Employment Policy (“GEP”) and Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals (“ASMTP”)

  • Initial stay period will be increased to 2 years
  • Subsequent visa extensions will be granted in 3-year intervals

Introduction Of “Top-Tier Entrants”

  • After holding GEP or ASMTP employment visas for 2 years, applicants may qualify as “top-tier entrants” if they have an assessable income for salaries tax of not less than HKD 2m in the previous year of assessment
  • Top-tier entrants are eligible for 6-year visa extensions which are not specific to the employer sponsoring the visa
  • Prior approval for change of employer is not required as the employment visas are no longer employer-specific; top-tier entrants only need to notify the HKID in writing upon change of employment

Introduction Of New Admission Scheme For The Second Generation Of Chinese Hong Kong Permanent Residents (“ASSG”)

  • ASSG is aimed at applicants aged between 18 and 40 who are born overseas to at least one parent who is a Hong Kong Permanent Resident at the time of application and was a Chinese national who had settled overseas at the time of the applicant’s birth
  • Applicants must have good education background and proficiency in either Chinese (written and spoken Mandarin or Cantonese) or English
  • Secured job offer is not mandatory at the time of application
  • ASSG is granted for an initial period of 12 months and extendable.  Applicants are required to show proof of employment or business in Hong Kong for visa extension

Other Noteworthy Developments

  • Entry for Entrepreneurs under GEP to establish or join in a business in Hong Kong – specific consideration factors in assessing applications will be published; applications from startup entrepreneurs will be favourably considered if supported by a government-backed programme such as InvestHK’s StartmeupHK Venture Programme.
  • Quality Migrant Admission Scheme – bonus points will be awarded under the General Points Test for outstanding academic background and previous international work experience; applicants under the Achievement-based Points Test may be granted an 8-year visa upon entry; relaxed stay arrangement and introduction of “Top-Tier Stream” similar to GEP and ASMTP applications.

The HKID is expected to provide further information on implementation procedures for the new initiatives and enhancement measures towards the second quarter of 2015.  Employers are encouraged to stay tuned for future updates.

Baker McKenzie

For further information, please contact:

Paul Tan, Partner, Baker & McKenzie 
paul.tan@bakermckenzie.com

Vivien Yu, Baker & McKenzie
vivien.yu@bakermckenzie.com

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