Enhancement Measures on Admission Schemes for Talent, Professionals and Entrepreneurs

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General

Employment

Investment

Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS)

Admission Scheme for the Second Generation of Chinese Hong Kong Permanent Residents (ASSG)

General

Q1: What is the purpose of implementing the new initiatives and enhancement measures to immigration policy?

To meet the population challenges of an ageing population and declining workforce, we must build up human capital by complementing our local workforce with non-local talent, professionals and entrepreneurs.  Having considered the latest situation in Hong Kong and views collected during the Public Engagement Exercise conducted by the Steering Committee on Population Policy, we have –

(i) implemented a pilot scheme to attract the second generation of Chinese Hong Kong permanent residents who have emigrated overseas to return to Hong Kong;

(ii) relaxed the stay arrangements for entrants under the General Employment Policy (GEP) and the Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals to facilitate the entry and stay of professionals and entrepreneurs;

(iii) relaxed the stay arrangements for entrants under the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS), adjusted the QMAS scoring scheme to attract quality migrants with an outstanding education background or international work experience; and

(iv) listed clearly the factors to be considered under the GEP investment stream.

Q2: Which immigration policies/schemes have been enhanced?

Enhancement measures have been applied to the General Employment Policy (for both employment and investment), the Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals, and the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme.

Q3: What is the new admission scheme?

A pilot scheme for the admission of the second generation of Chinese Hong Kong permanent residents who have emigrated overseas has been introduced.  For details, please see Q26-36.

Employment

Q4: How are the General Employment Policy (GEP) and the Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals (ASMTP) enhanced?

Under the enhancement measures, the initial duration of stay upon entry and subsequent extensions of stay have been relaxed.  The initial stay of successful applicants under the GEP or ASMTP has been relaxed from 1 year to 2 years on employment condition, or in accordance with the duration of the employment contract, whichever is shorter.  Extension of stay pattern has also been relaxed from 2-2-3 years to 3-3 years, or in accordance with the duration of the employment contract , whichever is shorter.

In addition, top-tier GEP and ASMTP entrants may be granted a 6-year extension of stay on time limitation only without other conditions of stay if they meet the relevant eligibility criteria. For details, please see Q5.

Q5: Who are top-tier entrants?

Persons admitted under the General Employment Policy (GEP) or the Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals (ASMTP) who continue to meet the relevant eligibility criteria and fulfil the following criteria at the time of application for extension of stay may be regarded as top-tier entrants:

(a) the applicant has been permitted to take up employment as a professional in Hong Kong under the GEP or ASMTP for not less than 2 years; and

(b) the applicant has an assessable income for salaries tax of not less than HK$2 million in the previous year of tax assessment.

Q6: What documentary proof should an applicant submit in order to apply for extension of stay under the top-tier stream?

In addition to the supporting documents listed in Part 3 of the Guidance Notes of form ID 91, the applicant should also submit proof of having an assessable income for salaries tax of not less than HK$2 million in the previous year of tax assessment, e.g. notice of salaries tax assessment of the previous tax assessment year issued by the Inland Revenue Department.

Q7: If an applicant is not qualified under the top-tier stream upon the instant extension of stay application but is able to meet such criteria subsequently, does he/she need to wait until the expiry of his/her limit of stay before submitting an extension of stay application under the top-tier stream?

If an applicant is not qualified upon the instant extension of stay application but is able to meet the criteria set out in A5 subsequently, he/she may apply at any time afterwards for extension of stay under the top-tier stream.

Q8: Can an applicant under the top-tier stream change employment during his/her permitted stay in Hong Kong?

An applicant must apply for prior approval from the Director of Immigration for any change in employment if he/she is admitted on employment condition. Such an application may be favourably considered if he/she continues to fulfil the eligibility criteria under the General Employment Policy or the Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals. However, if an applicant is permitted to remain in Hong Kong on time limitation only without other conditions of stay under the top-tier stream, he/she only needs to notify the Immigration Department in writing upon change of employment within his/her permitted limit of stay.

Q9: Are the enhancement measures to the General Employment Policy (GEP) and the Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals (ASMTP) also applicable to those entrants already admitted?

For GEP or ASMTP entrants already admitted, they may submit an application for extension of stay within 4 weeks before their limit of stay expires. If the extension of stay application is approved, the applicant will be granted a 3-year stay on employment condition, or in accordance with the duration of the employment contract, whichever is shorter. For successful applicants under the top-tier employment stream, an extension of 6-year stay on time limitation only without other conditions of stay will be granted.

Investment

Q10: What are the enhancement measures to the immigration policy for entry for investment?

Under the enhancement measures, the initial duration of stay upon entry and subsequent extensions of stay have been relaxed. Successful applicants will normally be granted an initial stay of 2 years on employment condition upon entry. The extension of stay pattern on employment condition has also been relaxed from the 2-2-3 years to the 3-3 years.

In addition, an applicant who wishes to establish or join in a start-up business may also submit an application. The Immigration Department may consider the application favourably, if the start-up business concerned is supported by a government-backed programme with a rigorous vetting and selection process, and the applicant is the proprietor or partner of the start-up company or a key researcher of the relevant project.

Q11: Who can submit an application for entry to Hong Kong to establish or join in a start-up business?

The applicant should be the proprietor or partner of the start-up company or a key researcher of the relevant project. The start-up business concerned should be supported by a government-backed programme with a rigorous vetting and selection process.

Q12: What are some examples of government-backed programmes for a start-up business?

Examples of government-backed programmes include:

  • StartmeupHK Venture Programme administered by InvestHK;
  • Incu-App, Incu-Bio and Incu-Tech programmes administered by the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation;
  • Cyberport Incubation Programme;
  • Small Entrepreneur Research Assistance Programme and Enterprise Support Scheme administered by the Innovation and Technology Commission; and
  • Design Incubation Programme administered by the Hong Kong Design Centre.
Q13: Is an applicant eligible for entry to establish/join in a start-up business if he/she has secured support from a government-backed programme which does not appear in the examples in A12?

An applicant may still submit the application together with completed application forms and all supporting documents, including documentary proof indicating support from the government-backed programme concerned.  We will assess the application with regard to the eligibility criteria for entry for investment as entrepreneurs (to establish/join in business).

Q14: Is an applicant eligible for entry to establish/join in a start-up business if he/she has gained support from an angel fund offered by a private company?

An applicant may submit the application together with completed application forms and all supporting documents, including documentary proof of the source and details of the fund concerned.  We will assess the application with regard to the eligibility criteria for entry for investment as entrepreneurs (to establish/join in business).

Q15: What supporting documents are required if an applicant wants to submit an application for investment to establish or join in a start-up business?

In addition to the supporting documents in Part IX of the “Guidebook for Entry for Investment as Entrepreneurs  in Hong Kong” [ID(E) 1000], the applicant should also submit a letter indicating valid support by a government-backed programme.

Q16: Are the enhancement measures also applicable to those entrants who were already admitted?

Entrants for investment already admitted may submit an application for extension of stay within 4 weeks before their limit of stay expires. If the extension of stay application is approved, the applicants will be granted a 3-year stay on employment condition.

Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS)

Q17: What are the enhancement measures to the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS)?

Enhancement measures under the QMAS include:

(1) revising the point-scoring scheme under the General Points Test (GPT) such that an additional 30 points will be awarded to graduates of renowned institutions recognized internationally and an additional 15 points to applicants with not less than 2 years of graduate or specialist level international work experience; and

(2) relaxing the initial duration of stay upon entry and subsequent extensions of stay such that entrants under the GPT may be granted a stay pattern of 2-3-3 years instead of the current 1-2-2-3 years and that entrants under the Achievement-based Points Test may be granted a stay of 8 years upon entry; top-tier GPT entrants may be granted a stay pattern of 2-6 years.

The eligibility criteria for the top-tier stream are:

(a) the applicant has been residing in Hong Kong under the QMAS for not less than 2 years; and

(b) the applicant has an assessable income for salaries tax of not less than HK$2 million in the previous year of tax assessment.

Q18: How is the point-scoring scheme under the General Points Test revised?

The point-scoring scheme under the GPT has been revised to facilitate the entry of talent with an outstanding academic background and those with international work experience to Hong Kong.

Two out of the five point-scoring factors have been revised, namely Academic /Professional Qualifications and Work Experience.  The other scoring factors (i.e. Age, Language Proficiency and Family Background) remain unchanged.

Details of the revised scorings are tabulated below:

Academic/Professional Qualifications
FactorsRevised Points
Two or more doctoral degrees Deleted
Doctoral degree / Two or more master’s degrees 40
Master’s degree / Two or more bachelor’s degrees 20
Bachelor’s degree / Professional qualification awarded by a nationally or internationally recognized or acclaimed professional body which demonstrates that the holder has a very high level of technical expertise or skill 10
Additional points if a degree at bachelor level or higher is awarded by a renowned institution recognized internationally 30
Maximum Points 70
Work Experience
Not less than 10 years’ graduate or specialist level work experience, including at least 5 years in a senior role 40
Not less than 5 years’ graduate or specialist level work experience, including at least 2 years in a senior role 30
Not less than 5 years’ graduate or specialist level work experience 15
Not less than 2 years’ graduate or specialist level work experience 5
Additional points for not less than 2 years’ graduate or specialist level work experience with international exposure* 15
Maximum Points 55

*Work experience outside the applicant’s home country/territory

Q19: Under the revised point-scoring scheme, the maximum points under the General Points Test increase from 165 to 195, is there any change to the minimum passing mark?

Under the revised point-scoring scheme, the maximum points under GPT increase from 165 to 195, while applicants who are not eligible for the additional points will score 150 points at most. The current minimum passing mark therefore remains unchanged at 80.

Q20: What are the assessment criteria in determining whether an applicant is a graduate of a renowned institution recognised internationally?

In making the assessment, reference will be made to the four world university ranking tables published by QS, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Times Higher Education and US News and World Report.  Applicants who have obtained a degree at bachelor level or higher from an institution listed among the top 100 universities/institutions in any of the above four tables, or in the top 30 colleges in the National Liberal Arts Colleges Rankings published by the US News and World Report will be awarded an additional 30 points.

Advice may also be sought from the Advisory Committee on Admission of Quality Migrants and Professionals, relevant experts or professional bodies on the academic qualifications awarded by other sector-specific renowned institutions which may not be included in these ranking lists.

Q21: Under the revised scoring system, what is "work experience outside the applicant's home country/territory?

During assessment, we will take into account the applicant’s nationality as declared on the application form. Work experience in other countries/territories will be regarded as international work experience.

Q22: What documentary proof should a person admitted under the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme submit in order to be eligible for assessment of his/her extension of stay application under the top-tier stream?

In addition to the supporting documents listed in Part 3 of the Guidance Notes of form ID 91, the applicant should also submit proof of having an assessable income for salaries tax of not less than HK$2 million in the previous year of tax assessment, e.g. notice of salaries tax assessment of the previous tax assessment year issued by the Inland Revenue Department.

Q23: If an applicant is not qualified under the top-tier stream of the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme upon the instant extension of stay application but is able to meet such criteria subsequently, will he/she need to wait until his/her limit of stay expires to submit an extension of stay application?

If an applicant is not qualified upon the instant extension of stay application but is able to meet the criteria set out in (2) of A18 subsequently, he/she may apply at any time afterwards for extension of stay under the top-tier stream.

Q24: If an applicant submits his/her application using the original point-scoring scheme before the implementation date, but it was received by the Immigration Department after the implementation date, under which point-scoring scheme will the application be assessed?

All applications received after the implementation date will be assessed according to the new scoring scheme.  Applications received before the implementation date will be assessed according to the original scoring scheme.

Q25: Is the enhanced extension pattern also applicable to those entrants already admitted?

For entrants already admitted under the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS), they are eligible for the relaxed extension pattern upon their application for extension of stay.

For example, an entrant under the General Points Test of QMAS may submit an application for extension of stay within 4 weeks before his/her limit of stay expires. If the extension of stay application is approved, the applicant will be granted a 3-year stay in accordance with the relaxed extension pattern; those eligible for the top-tier stream may be granted a 6-year stay.

Likewise, an entrant under the Achievement-based Points Test of QMAS may submit an application for extension of stay within 4 weeks before his/her limit of stay expires. If the extension of stay application is approved, the applicant will be granted an 8-year stay in accordance with the relaxed extension pattern.

Admission Scheme for the Second Generation of Chinese Hong Kong Permanent Residents (ASSG)

Q26: What is the purpose of implementing the Admission Scheme for the Second Generation of Chinese Hong Kong Permanent Residents?

The scheme aims at attracting the second generation of Chinese Hong Kong permanent residents who have emigrated overseas to return to Hong Kong. With their knowledge of foreign languages and culture, the second generation of Hong Kong emigrants with a good education background will be a valuable source of vibrant workforce. Given their family ties with Hong Kong, they may have a higher incentive to return and seek development opportunities here.

Q27: What are the eligibility criteria under the Admission Scheme for the Second Generation of Chinese Hong Kong Permanent Residents?

Applicants will have to meet, apart from normal immigration requirements, the following criteria:

(a) aged between 18 and 40;

(b) born overseas (i.e. not in the Mainland, the HKSAR, the Macao SAR or Taiwan);

(c) have at least one parent who is the holder of a valid Hong Kong Permanent Identity Card at the time of application and was a Chinese national who had settled overseas at the time of the applicant’s birth;

(d) have a good education background, normally a first degree, but in special circumstances, good technical qualifications, proven professional abilities and/or relevant experience and achievements supported by documentary evidence may also be accepted;

(e) proficient in written and spoken Chinese (Putonghua or Cantonese) or English; and

(f)  have sufficient financial means and are able to meet the living expenses for his/her (including his/her dependants, if any) maintenance and accommodation in Hong Kong without recourse to public funds.

Q28: Why are some of the second generation of Hong Kong emigrants not Hong Kong permanent residents by birth under Article 24 of the Basic Law?

According to Article 24(2)(3) of the Basic Law and the interpretation adopted at the Tenth Session of the Standing Committee of the Ninth National People’s Congress on 26 June 1999, persons of Chinese nationality born outside Hong Kong to Hong Kong permanent resident parents who were, at the time of birth of the persons, Chinese citizens (i) born in Hong Kong or (ii) having ordinarily resided in Hong Kong for a continuous period of not less than 7 years, are Hong Kong permanent residents. According to Article 5 of the Nationality Law of the People’s Republic of China, any person born abroad whose parents are both Chinese nationals and have both settled abroad, or one of whose parents is a Chinese national and has settled abroad, and who has acquired foreign nationality at birth shall not have Chinese nationality. Therefore, such persons not having Chinese nationality cannot acquire Hong Kong permanent resident status under Article 24(2)(3) of the Basic Law.

Q29: Both the Certificate for Entitlement to the Right of Abode in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (COE) and the Admission Scheme for the Second Generation of Chinese Hong Kong Permanent Residents (ASSG)require one of the applicant’s parents to be of Chinese nationality.  What is the difference between the two?

The COE scheme requires the applicant to be of Chinese nationality at the time of birth.  In general, this means that either of their parents, at the time of the applicant’s birth, has not yet settled overseas and accordingly the applicant remains a Chinese national.

The ASSG is applicable to those who are not eligible under the COE scheme, i.e. persons who are born overseas and not having Chinese nationality at the time of birth.

Q30: My parent was a Chinese born in Hong Kong and hold a Hong Kong Permanent Identity Card. He/She has emigrated overseas and is now holding a foreign passport. Is he/she still a Chinese national in the HKSAR?

Your parent is a Chinese national if your parent has Chinese nationality under the Chinese Nationality Law as elaborated in " the interpretation of Chinese Nationality Law when applying in the HKSAR" passed by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of the Chinese Government on 15 May 1996.  In general, your parent may be regarded as a Chinese national if he/she is a Hong Kong resident of Chinese descent and born in Hong Kong or other parts of China, notwithstanding that he/she holds or has held Hong Kong British Dependent Territories Citizen passport, British National (Overseas) passport or any other foreign passport, unless he/she has made a declaration of change of nationality to the HKSAR Immigration Department.

Q31: How may an applicant outside Hong Kong submit an application under the Admission Scheme for the Second Generation of Chinese Hong Kong Permanent Residents?

An applicant who is outside Hong Kong and is unable to submit his/her application in person may forward his/her application by post or submit it through his/her local representative in Hong Kong.  He/She may also apply online.

Q33: How does a successful applicant make payment and collect his/her visa/entry permit label granted under the Admission Scheme for the Second Generation of Chinese Hong Kong Permanent Residents?  What is the validity of the visa/entry permit label so issued?

Payment of visa/entry permit fee, applicable to each applicant/ dependant, will be settled after the application is approved.  If the visa/entry permit label is collected in person or through a local representative, payment of fees should be made upon collection of the visa/entry permit in cash, by EPS or by cheque.  The cheque should be crossed, made payable to "The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region", properly dated and signed. 

If an applicant wishes to receive the visa/entry permit label by mail, he/she should send a cashier order or a bank draft (with exact fee in Hong Kong currency) upon receipt of an approval letter from us. The cashier order or bank draft should be issued by a bank which has a connected bank in Hong Kong and made payable to "The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region".  No cash should be sent.

The visa/entry permit label is valid for 3 months from the date of issue.  The visa/entry permit label should be affixed onto a blank visa page of the applicant's valid travel document for presentation to an immigration officer upon arrival in Hong Kong.

Q34: Will an entrant under the Admission Scheme for the Second Generation of Chinese Hong Kong Permanent Residents (ASSG) be permitted to continue remaining in Hong Kong if he/she cannot secure an employment?

An entrant admitted under the ASSG will normally be granted an initial stay of 12 months on time limitation only without other conditions of stay. He/she is not required to secure an employment offer upon his/her initial entry. Upon applying for extension of stay, the applicant is then required to have secured an offer of employment which is at a level commonly taken up by degree holders and the remuneration package is at market level. For an applicant who has established or joined in business in Hong Kong, he/she is required to produce proof of his/her business. If the applicant fails to prove that he/she will continue to work in Hong Kong or has established or joined in any business, his/her application may be refused.

Q35: How does an entrant admitted under the Admission Scheme for the Second Generation of Chinese Hong Kong Permanent Residents (ASSG) submit an extension of stay application and what supporting documents are required?

An entrant admitted under the ASSG may apply for extension of stay in Hong Kong within 4 weeks before the expiry of his/her limit of stay.  He/She is required to submit the application form for extension of stay (ID 91), original and photocopy of his/her valid travel document and his/her old travel document showing the latest visa/entry permit label /landing slip/extension of stay label in Hong Kong, photocopy of his/her Hong Kong identity card, and other supporting documents, including proof of employment or business in Hong Kong.

Q36: May an entrant admitted under the Admission Scheme for the Second Generation of Chinese Hong Kong Permanent Residents (ASSG) bring in their spouse and children?

An entrant admitted under the ASSG may apply to bring in his/her spouse and unmarried dependent children under the age of 18 to Hong Kong under the prevailing dependant policy.  He/She will be the sponsor of his/her accompanying dependants to Hong Kong. 

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