In our spotlight on APAC series we round up the latest developments across Asia Pacific. In this post we look at immigration policy changes in Hong Kong.
On 25th October 2023 the current Chief Executive of Hong Kong, John Lee announced a series of new immigration measures designed to increase foreign investment and attract more skilled workers to Hong Kong.
- As mainland China reopens borders for business and introduces measures to encourage travel to the country, Hong Kong also implements new measures, effective 26 October 2023 to enable foreign national staff of companies registered in Hong Kong to apply for ‘multiple entry visas’ at the Chinese Visa Application Service Centre in Hong Kong. The visas will be valid for two or more years to mainland China and applicants will have priority processing.
- Following the launch of the Hong Kong Talent Engage (HKTE) online platform last year, a physical office will be established by the end of October 2023. The office will provide support for incoming talents and follow up with their development and needs after arrival. In 2024, the government will organise a “Global Talent Summit for Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area High-quality Talent Development Conference” with the aim of promoting regional exchange and co-operation in talent attraction.
- Effective November 2023 the Hong Kong government will add eight leading institutions from mainland China and overseas to the list of eligible universities under the Top Talent Pass Scheme, making a total of 184 institutions. The Top Talent Pass Scheme is designed to attract graduates of the world’s top universities and with rich work experience. The category is subject to a quota.
- With an aim of opening a new period of bilateral partnership with Vietnam the Hong Kong Government will relax the visa policy in respect of employment for Vietnamese talents and the criteria for Vietnamese applying for “multiple-entry visas” for business and travel. Effective 25 October 2023 the new measures will enable Vietnamese nationals and start up businesses to seek opportunities in Hong Kong whilst also exploring Capital Markets and financial services in Hong Kong. It will also relax the visa policy for Laotian and Nepalese talents for employment, training and study in University Grants Committee (UGC)-funded institutions.
- Under the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme, eligible investors who make investments of HKD 30 million or above in assets such as stocks, funds, bonds, etc. (excluding real estate) can apply for entry into Hong Kong. The scheme was previously suspended in 2015 but Chief Executive John Lee intends to reopen the route and details of the scheme will be announced by the end of 2023.
- To alleviate the manpower shortage in skilled trades, starting from the 2024/25 admission cohort, non-local students of designated full-time professional Higher Diploma programmes of the Vocational Training Council (VTC) will be allowed to stay in Hong Kong for one year after graduation to seek jobs relevant to their disciplines. The Vocational Professionals Admission Scheme will be a pilot arrangement and will be reviewed after two years.