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Obtaining a Hong Kong Work Visa

Hong Kong's Employment for Professionals work permit scheme is designed for hiring skilled foreign employees. This comprehensive guide covers eligibility criteria, required documents, the application process, and additional considerations to ensure a smooth application.

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for the Employment for Professionals work permit, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  1. Criminal Record: No criminal records or security objections.

  2. Educational Background: Typically, an undergraduate degree in the relevant field is required. In lieu of a degree, technical qualifications, professional abilities, and relevant experience may suffice.

  3. Job Vacancy: The job must be genuine and not easily filled by the local workforce.

  4. Employment Offer: A confirmed employment offer that matches the applicant’s qualifications and experience.

  5. Remuneration Package: The compensation, including salary, accommodation, medical, and other benefits, should align with market standards in Hong Kong.

Required Documents

From the Applicant:

  • Completed Employment Visa Application Form: Accurate and fully filled.

  • Passport Copy: The personal particulars page.

  • Proof of Residence: Evidence of residence outside of Hong Kong.

  • Academic and Professional Proofs: Copies of degrees, certificates, and proof of relevant experience.

From the Employer:

  • Application for Employing Professionals: Completed form.

  • Employment Contract or Appointment Letter: Detailed information about the job position, salary, benefits, and employment period.

  • Business Registration Certificate: A copy of the company’s certificate.

  • Financial Standing Proof: Latest audited financial report, trading profit and loss account, or profit tax return.

  • Company Background Details: Information about business activities, operational mode, product ranges, and market connections, supported by catalogs, brochures, or similar documents.

Application Procedure & Timeline

  1. Document Preparation: Gather all required documents from both the applicant and the employer.

  2. Submission: Submit the application to the Hong Kong Immigration Department via post.

  3. Processing Time: The typical processing time is 2-3 months.

  4. Approval and Collection: Upon approval, collect the Visa/Entry Permit label from the immigration office and affix it to the passport.

  5. Initial Validity: Most work permits are initially valid for one year and can be renewed.

Additional Considerations

  • Employment Visa Renewal: Work permit holders should apply for renewal at least four weeks before the visa expiration. The renewal process follows the same eligibility criteria and usually extends the stay for 2 to 3 years or according to the employment contract duration.

  • Change of Employment: The work permit is employer-specific. Changing jobs requires approval through the "Application for Change of Employment" with the Immigration Department.

  • Dependant Visa for Family: Work permit holders can bring their spouse and unmarried dependent children under 18 to Hong Kong. Dependent visa holders can work or study in Hong Kong.

  • Permanent Residence: After residing in Hong Kong for seven continuous years under the employment scheme, individuals can apply for Permanent Residence, also known as "Right of Abode".

Understanding and adhering to Hong Kong's work visa requirements is crucial for a successful application. By following this comprehensive guide, businesses and professionals can navigate the process effectively, ensuring compliance with local regulations and facilitating a smooth transition to working in Hong Kong.

Can Woodburn help you?


Woodburn Accountants & Advisors is one of China’s most trusted business setup advisory firms.

Woodburn Accountants & Advisors is specialized in inbound investment to China and Hong Kong. We focus on eliminating the complexities of corporate services and compliance administration. We help clients with services ranging from trademark registration and company incorporation to the full outsourcing solution for accounting, tax, and human resource services. Our advisory services can be tailor-made based on the companies’ objectives, goals and needs which vary depending on the stage they are at on their journey.


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Schedule a 30-mins complimentary, no-obligation call to see how Woodburn can help you. Book a call with our Head of Business Advisory - Kristina Koehler-Coluccia.

Topics we can advise on include:

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