General Employment Policy (GEP)

Before Applying

General Employment Policy (GEP)

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Introduction

This webpage sets out the entry arrangement for persons who wish to enter/stay in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) for employment as professionals.

ApplicantsNote 1 who possess special skills, knowledge or experience of value to and not readily available in the HKSAR may apply to come to work under the GEP.

The GEP is quota-free and non-sector specific.

This entry arrangement does not apply to:

  1. Chinese residents of the MainlandNote 2 ; and
  2. nationals of Afghanistan, Cambodia, Cuba, Laos, Korea (Democratic People's Republic of), Nepal and Vietnam.

Note 1:  

Non-local students (referring to persons entering the HKSAR for the purpose of education with a student visa/entry permit issued by the Director of Immigration) who have obtained an undergraduate or higher qualification in a full-time and locally accredited local programme in Hong Kong (non-local graduates) may apply to stay/return and work in the HKSAR under the "Immigration Arrangements for Non-local Graduates" (IANG).  Further information of the IANG can be found here.

Note 2:  

Chinese residents of the Mainland who are not non-local graduates but possess special skills, knowledge or experience of value to and not readily available in the HKSAR may apply to come to work under the Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals (ASMTP).  Further information of the ASMTP can be found here.

Eligibility Criteria

An application for a visa/ entry permit to take up employment under the GEP may be favourably considered if:

  1. there is no security objection and no known record of serious crime in respect of the applicant;
  2. the applicant has a good education background, normally a first degree in the relevant field, but in special circumstances, good technical qualifications, proven professional abilities and/or relevant experience and achievements supported by documentary evidence may also be accepted;
  3. there is a genuine job vacancy;
  4. the applicant has a confirmed offer of employment and is employed in a job relevant to his academic qualifications or work experience that cannot be readily taken up by the local work force; and
  5. the remuneration package including income, accommodation, medical and other fringe benefits is broadly commensurate with the prevailing market level for professionals in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).

Overseas Chinese nationals holding People's Republic of China passports who meet the criteria stipulated above and normal immigration requirements may apply to enter the HKSAR for employment under the GEP if:

  1. the applicant has permanent residence overseas; or
  2. the applicant has been residing overseas for at least one year immediately before the submission of application ["overseas" means countries or territories outside the Mainland, the HKSAR and the Macao Special Administrative Region] and that the application is submitted from overseas.

In general, unless a person has the right of abode or right to land in the HKSAR, he/she requires a visa/entry permit to work in the HKSAR. While each application is determined on its individual merits, an applicant should meet normal immigration requirements (such as holding a valid travel document with adequate returnability to his/her country of residence or citizenship; be of clear criminal record and raise no security or criminal concerns to the HKSAR; have no likelihood of becoming a burden on the HKSAR, etc.) as well as the relevant specific eligibility criteria detailed above before he/she may be considered for the grant of a visa/entry permit. It should be noted that the eligibility criteria may be subject to change from time to time without prior notice.

Entry of Dependants

Applicants admitted under the GEP may apply to bring in their spouse and unmarried dependent children under the age of 18 to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) under the prevailing dependant policy. Persons admitted or applying for admission under the GEP will be the sponsors of their accompanying dependants to the HKSAR. An application for admission of a dependant may be favourably considered if normal immigration requirements and the following criteria are met: 

  1. there is reasonable proof of a genuine relationship between the dependant and the sponsor;
  2. there is no known record to the detriment of the dependant; and
  3. the sponsor is able to support the dependant's living at a standard well above the subsistence level and provide him/her with suitable accommodation in the HKSAR.

This entry arrangement does not apply to:

  1. former Mainland Chinese residents residing in Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) who have acquired residence in Macao SAR through channels other than the One-way Permit Scheme; and
  2. nationals of Afghanistan and Korea (Democratic People's Republic of).

The length of stay of such dependants will normally be linked to that of their sponsors. Any subsequent applications for extension of stay will be considered only when the applicant continues to meet the eligibility criteria for entry for residence as dependants and the sponsor remains a bona fide Hong Kong resident living in the HKSAR. These dependants are not prohibited from taking up employment or studies in the HKSAR under the existing policy.

Processing Time

It normally takes four weeks to process visa/entry permit applications for employment upon receipt of all the required documents. The Immigration Department will not be able to start processing the application unless all the required documents and information have been received.

All applications are processed and determined by the Immigration Department. Approval of applications is entirely discretionary and is subject to changes in government policies. The Director of Immigration reserves absolute discretion to refuse any application even if the application meets all eligibility criteria.

Applying

General Employment Policy (GEP)

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Application Forms

Applicants should complete application form ID 990A. The employing companies should complete application form ID 990B. The application forms (ID 990A and ID 990B) can be obtained free of charge from the following offices:

  1. Immigration Department Headquarters;
  2. Immigration Branch Offices;
  3. Overseas Chinese Diplomatic and Consular Missions; and
  4. HKSAR Government offices outside Hong Kong.

The forms can also be downloaded here

Supporting Documents
  1. Forms and documents to be submitted by the applicant for entry application
Forms/Documents Required
Application for Entry for Employment as Professionals in Hong Kong (ID 990A)
The applicant's recent photograph (affixed on page 2 of application form ID 990A)
Photocopy of applicant's valid travel document containing personal particulars, date of issue, date of expiry and/or details of any re-entry visa held (if applicable). For an applicant who is currently staying in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), photocopy of his/her valid travel document page containing the latest arrival stamp/landing slip/extension of stay label in the HKSAR. A Chinese resident of the Mainland who has not been issued with a travel document may submit a photocopy of his/her People's Republic of China (PRC) resident identity card.
Photocopy of applicant's Hong Kong identity card (if any)
Photocopy of proof of academic qualifications and relevant work experience
Photocopy of the applicant's Macao identity card [for Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) residents only]
Photocopy of the applicant's household registration in Taiwan and Taiwan identity card [for Taiwan residents only]
Photocopy of proof of the applicant's overseas residence, such as copy of official documents showing the applicant's conditions of stay and limit of stay endorsed by overseas authorities [for overseas Chinese holding PRC passports only]
  1. Forms and documents to be submitted by the employing company
Forms/Documents Required
Application for Employing Professionals in Hong Kong (ID 990B)
Photocopy of the company's employment contract with or letter of appointment to the applicant containing information about post, salaries, other fringe benefits and employment periods
Photocopy of the Business Registration Certificate^
Photocopy of proof of financial standing (e.g. latest audited financial report, trading profit and loss account, or profit tax return)^
Documents with details of company background such as business activities, mode of operation, background/ connection of company, product ranges, sources and markets, membership of chamber of commerce (if any), etc. (supported with catalogues, brochures, etc.)  ^
Detailed business plan (e.g. information on source of funds, estimated capital injection, nature/mode of business activities, expected turnover, sales volume, gross and net profit in the coming years, and proposed creation of local job posts, etc.) [for companies newly set-up within 12 months only]^

^ Submission of the documents is not required if the employing company has successfully obtained an employment or training visa/entry permit for a non-local staff in the past 18 months immediately before submission of the application

  1. Forms and documents to be submitted by each accompanying dependant of an applicant for entry under the GEP
Forms/Documents Required
The applicant's application form, Application for Entry for Employment as Professionals in Hong Kong (ID 990A) with Part B duly completed by the dependant
The dependant's recent photograph (affixed on page two of the application form ID 990A)
Photocopy of the dependant's travel document containing personal particulars, its date of issue, date of expiry and/or details of any re-entry visa held (if applicable). For a dependant who is currently staying in Hong Kong, photocopy of his/her travel document page containing the latest arrival stamp/landing slip/extension of stay label in the HKSAR. A Chinese resident of the Mainland who has not been issued with a travel document may submit a photocopy of his/her PRC resident identity card.
Photocopy of evidence of the applicant's relationship with the dependant e.g. marriage certificate, birth certificate, family photographs, family letters (with envelopes), census record book and Privilege Card for Single child (if applicable)
Photocopy of the dependant's Macao identity card [for Macao SAR residents only]
Photocopy of the dependant's household registration in Taiwan and Taiwan identity card [for Taiwan residents only]
  1. Forms and documents to be submitted by the applicant for extension of stay application
Forms/Documents Required
Application for Extension of Stay (ID 91)
Original and photocopy of the applicant’s valid travel document and, where applicable, his/her previous travel document showing the latest visa/entry permit label/arrival stamp/landing slip/extension of stay label in the HKSAR
Photocopy of the applicant’s Hong Kong identity card
Forms and supporting documents listed in Part (B) above *
Documentary proof of the applicant 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 or relevant tax documents [only applicable to those who choose to apply for assessment under the top-tier employment stream]

* Applicants without change of employment are only required to provide a supporting letter from the current employer stating the applicant’s position, total monthly remuneration and period of employment.

Notwithstanding that the documents and information required have been furnished, applicants, accompanying dependants and employing companies may still be required to submit further supporting documents and information in connection with the application(s) when necessary.

Where a document is not in Chinese or English, it must be accompanied by a Chinese or English translation certified as a true translation by a sworn translator, court translator, authorised public translator, certified translator, expert translator or official translator.

Warning

It is an offence to make false statements or representations to an immigration officer. A person who knowingly and wilfully makes a statement or gives information which he/she knows to be false or does not believe to be true shall be guilty of an offence under the Laws of Hong Kong and any such visa/entry permit issued or permission to enter or remain in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region granted shall have no effect.

Submission of Application

All the forms must be duly completed and signed. Where there are accompanying dependants, each dependant must complete and sign Part B of application form ID 990A. For a dependant under the age of 16, it must be signed by the parent or legal guardian. Completed application forms, i.e. ID 990A and ID 990B, and all supporting documents should be submitted by the applicant or the employing company in one of the following ways:

  1. By post directly or through a local sponsor in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) to:
    Receipt and Despatch Sub-Unit
    Hong Kong Immigration Department
    2/F, Immigration Tower
    7 Gloucester Road
    Wan Chai, Hong Kong

    Underpaid mail items will not be accepted by the Immigration Department. For proper delivery of your mail items, please ensure your mail items bear sufficient postage with return address before posting. (Details)
  2. Applicants residing in overseas countries or territories may submit their application forms together with the relevant supporting documents and their valid travel documents in person to the nearest Chinese diplomatic and consular mission in their place of domicile.
  3. Holders of foreign passports who are living in the Mainland may submit the application forms together with all supporting documents to the Immigration Division of the Office of the Government of the HKSAR in Beijing (Beijing Office). Applicants are required to produce their valid travel document to the Immigration Division of the Beijing Office so that a visa/entry permit could be issued if the application is approved. The address of the Beijing Office is:
    No. 71, Di'anmen Xidajie, Xicheng District
    Beijing 100009
    People's Republic of China
Processing Time

It normally takes four weeks to process visa/entry permit applications for employment upon receipt of all the required documents. The Immigration Department will not be able to start processing the application unless all the required documents and information have been received.

All applications are processed and determined by the Immigration Department. Approval of applications is entirely discretionary and is subject to changes in government policies. The Director of Immigration reserves absolute discretion to refuse any application even if the application meets all eligibility criteria.

Payment of Fees

If the application is submitted to the Immigration Department directly, 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 the application is submitted to an overseas Chinese diplomatic and consular mission or the Immigration Division of the Office of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in Beijing (Beijing Office), the visa/entry permit fee should be paid directly to the Chinese diplomatic and consular mission or the Immigration Division of the Beijing Office as appropriate.

Fee Table

After Applying

General Employment Policy (GEP)

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Online/ 24-hour Telephone Enquiry on Application Status

Once the receipt of application has been acknowledged, applicants can enquire their application status here or through the 24-hour telephone enquiry system at (852) 3160 8663.

Payment of Fees

If the application is submitted to the Immigration Department directly, payment of fees should be made upon collection of the visa/entry permit either 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 the application is submitted to an overseas Chinese diplomatic and consular mission or the Immigration Division of the Office of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in Beijing (Beijing Office), the visa/entry permit fee should be paid directly to the Chinese diplomatic and consular mission or the Immigration Division of the Beijing Office as appropriate

Fee Table

Travel Documentation Requirement

A visa/entry permit label will be issued upon successful application. It should be collected by the sponsor from the Immigration Department for onward transmission to the successful applicant. For applications submitted to Chinese diplomatic and consular missions or the Immigration Division of the Office of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in Beijing (Beijing Office), visas/entry permits will be issued through the relevant Chinese diplomatic and consular missions or the Immigration Division of the Beijing Office as appropriate. The visa/entry permit label should be affixed onto a blank visa page of the applicant's travel document for presentation to an immigration officer upon arrival in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Extension of Stay

Persons admitted as professionals under the GEP will normally be granted an initial stay of 24 months on employment condition, or in accordance with the duration of the employment contract (whichever is shorter), upon entry. They may apply for extension of stay in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) within four weeks before their limit of stay expires. Such applications will be considered only when the applicants continue to meet the eligibility criteria under the GEP. Extension of stay, if approved, will normally follow the 3-3 years pattern, also on employment condition, or be in accordance with the duration of the employment contract (whichever is shorter).

Admitted professionals who continue to meet the eligibility criteria under the GEP and fulfil the following criteria at the time of application for extension of stay may choose to apply for assessment under the top-tier employment stream:

(a)        the applicant has been permitted to take up employment as a professional in the HKSAR under the GEP for not less than two 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 Note 1.

Successful applicants will normally be granted an extension of stay on time limitation only without other conditions of stay for a period of six years.

Further information can be found here.

Note 1:
Applicants should provide documentary 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 or relevant tax documents.

Conditions of Stay

Professionals admitted under the GEP who are on employment condition shall only take such employment as approved by the Director of Immigration. They should seek prior approval from the Director of Immigration for any change in employment. Such applications may be favourably considered if the applicants continue to fulfil the eligibility criteria under the GEP. For those top-tier professionals who are permitted to remain in the HKSAR on time limitation only without other conditions of stay, they only need to notify the Immigration Department in writing of the change of their employment within the currency of their permitted limit of stay.

Re-entry into the HKSAR

Non-permanent residents of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), irrespective of their nationality and type of travel document held, do not require a re-entry visa/entry permit to enter the HKSAR provided that they return within the currency of their permitted limit of stay and that the circumstances upon which they have acquired their residential status remain unchanged.

Right of Abode

Persons admitted under the GEP who have ordinarily resided in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) for a continuous period of not less than seven years may apply for the right of abode in the HKSAR in accordance with the law.