Designed Specifically to Bring Particular Talent to Hong Kong

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Quick Summary


Hong Kong seeks to attract qualified mainland talent in order to keep Hong Kong competitive in a globalised market and to meet local manpower needs. The programme sets up an immigration mechanism for Chinese residents of the mainland separate from, but aligned to, the employment visa process which applies to other foreign nationals (or other PRC passport holders who are presently resident overseas).

Approvability Test

The mainland talent must possess special skills and knowledge not readily available or otherwise in shortage in Hong Kong. Moreover, successful candidates under the programme must be able to help to facilitate the economic development of Hong Kong or work in the arts, culture, sports or culinary segments so as to enhance Hong Kong’s status as an Asian world city.


An application for admission under the Mainland Talents & Professional Scheme will be successful if:

Who Can Apply?

This Scheme can be used in a number of creative ways to facilitate the entry of suitably qualified mainland residents to take up employment in Hong Kong.

Headhunted Mainland Talent
Needed by Hong Kong businesses for a specific employment position.

Mainland Business Owner
Who seeks to transfer him or herself to their self owned Hong Kong business.

Mainland Business Executive
Who works for a Mainland business seeking to establish new operations in the HKSAR.

Mainland Intercompany Transferee
Who works for a substantial Hong Kong, Mainland or Multinational Enterprise with operations in both Hong Kong and on the Mainland.

Considering Your Argument

To ensure the best possible chance of an approval, you need to promulgate a good case argument. Good arguments are derived from a careful application of your individual circumstances as applied in the context of the job offer in hand. Moreover, the particular circumstances of the proposed employer’s business and their specific need for exact skills needs to be interwoven throughout. Please refer to the following narrative for guidance on what you should be articulating to ImmD when arguing your case for an approval under the Mainland Talents & Professionals Scheme:

Special Skills, Knowledge, Experience
‘Special’ as compared to other foreign nationals and also locals. ‘Skills, Knowledge and Experience ‘ in the context of the actual work to be done.

Of Value
Value here can be economic, the arts, cultural, sports or culinary. Not all activities are deemed of value, however. It depends on the nature of the work.

Not Readily Available Locally
ImmD have their own methods of determining whether such skills are in fact available from within the local workforce. They will often interact with other government agencies to seek official guidance. Running job advertisements and stating no one/no one suitable applied can be a double edged sword. On the one hand, by virtue of the fact that you advertise locally for a candidate you are admitting that there remains the possibility of the employer finding the skills they need locally (and so its just a matter of time before a suitable candidate emerges). On the other, if you do advertise and claim that no suitable candidate has emerged, ImmD will ask to see the CV’s procured in response. Either way, it’s a struggle. Interestingly though, ImmD do not as a rule place the burden of proving that the skills in question are not available locally on the shoulders of the applicant and their proposed employer. However, in making the argument, this element of the approvability test must be addressed, if not directly, then certainly by implication from all the other things you will be saying in support of the application.

Articulating Your Argument

You have a good educational background in the relevant field but in special circumstances good technical qualifications, proven professional abilities and/or relevant experience.
Normally, a first degree is required. In the event that you do not have a degree, it is acceptable to cite your prior qualifications and experience. Your CV is a vital document in these instances as are any testimonial and references from previous employers.

There is a genuine job vacancy.
Here representations need to be made which detail how the vacancy came about and where it sits within the organisational chart of the employing company as a whole. ImmD are on the look out for ‘contrived employments’ with a view to residence in the absence of a bona fide employment opportunity.

You have a confirmed offer of employment.
This requires ImmD having sight of an offer of employment a condition of which is that the employment is “subject to the approval of the Director of Immigration”.

You will be employed in a job relevant to your qualifications or working experience.
In other words, if you are an investment banker seeking to change careers to a PR expert, the likelihood of you satisfying this limb of the approvability processes is slight,

That job cannot be readily taken up by the local work force.
Please see the comments above in relation to “Not Readily Available”.

The remuneration package. Including income, accommodation, medical and other fringe benefits is broadly commensurate with the prevailing market level for professionals in the HKSAR.
In stark terms, any employment package valued at any less than HKD260,000 p.a. will likely struggle to approval.

Submitting Your Application

The application is submitted to ImmD either (a) via post from overseas or in person to the Receipt & Dispatch Unit of the Immigration Tower (2/F). It can be submitted by a local sponsor or directly by the Hong Kong entity which is seeking to employ the talent in their Hong Kong operations (they are not always the same party).

The Consideration Process

Once your application has been submitted, the process will play out via mail and/or fax. Occasionally ImmD will communicate with you via email. Processing time is usually 6-8 weeks but can be considerably longer in more complex cases. It is rare that a case, unless it is an Inter-company transferee type, will be approved without some element of a dialogue whereby ImmD will raise questions and requests for further information. These subsequent submissions are usually required within 14 days, although ImmD are quite flexible, proving you with sufficient time to respond. Careful consideration should be given to these requests; they can provide very real clues as to the attitude ImmD are adopting to the case. Remember, the challenge is to ensure that the Approvability Test is very properly addressed so the materials you submit in response to the request of ImmD should carry forward your substantive argument for approval. Once approved, ImmD will write to you with a notice as to the positive outcome and invite you to complete the approval formalities.

Refusal & Appeal

If your case is denied, you can elect to start the appeal process with a formal request for Reconsideration. If you are a visitor seeking to change your status, ImmD will not afford you an extension to your current period of stay during the Reconsideration process. See the section on Appeals.