Taking Up Employment in Hong Kong

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Quick Summary


Under a new visa type which was introduced in 2008, if you are a person from outside of Hong Kong and have obtained a degree or higher qualification in a full-time and locally-accredited programme in the HKSAR, you are entitled to apply for an employment visa under a liberalised approvability test.

Under the Immigration Arrangements for Non-local Graduates (IANG) such non-local graduates who submit applications to the Immigration Department within six months after the date of their graduation (i.e. the date shown on their graduation certificates) are classified as ‘fresh graduates’. Fresh graduates who seek to work in Hong Kong after their studies are complete are not required to secure an offer of employment as part of their application to change from student visa status to employment visa status — which is approved, effectively, almost as of right.

Non-local graduates who submit applications after six months of the date of their graduation are classified as ‘returning graduates’. Such returning graduates who wish to return to work in the HKSAR are required to secure an offer of employment in order to secure an employment visa. These applications are ’favourably considered’ so long as the job is ‘suitable’ and the remuneration package is set at market levels.

Approvability Test

Fresh Graduates: Production of proof that you have graduated (six months limit).
Returning Graduates: Production of proof that you have graduated (no time limit) and an offer of employment in Hong Kong commensurate with your education at an emolument set at market levels.

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) or (b) as part of an application to Change Status or Visa Category if you are presently in Hong Kong as a resident or as a visitor or (c) via the nearest Chinese diplomatic mission in your country of domicile.

The Consideration Process

Once your application has been submitted, the process will play out via mail and/or fax. Occasionally the HKID will communicate with you via email. Processing time is usually 4-6 weeks . Once approved, ImmD will write to you with a notice as to the positive outcome and invite you to complete the approval formalities which will differ depending on how you submitted your application.

Once Approved

Your initial period of stay will be for 24 months which is then extendable subject to the new 2-3-3 year pattern of visa grant. Holders of employment visas issued under the Immigration Arrangements for Non-Local Graduates are able to change employers without needing to seek the prior approval of ImmD but will need to demonstrate they are presently employed or engaged in a business at the point of making the application for extension.

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 usually afford you an extension to your current period of stay during the Reconsideration process. See the section on Appeals.