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Hadley Says

What’s the Deal About Advertising Your Job Locally Before You Can Apply for an Employment Visa in Hong Kong?

October 5th, 2012

Posted in Employment Visas, Hadley Says…, The Hong Kong Visa Geeza /


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The question is often asked if it is absolutely necessary to undertake a local advertising campaign in respect of a job to be offered to a foreign national who needs a visa to take up an employment in Hong Kong.

The answer is, it all depends.

In the case of intercompany transferees, certainly not.

The Hong Kong Immigration Department will typically not second guess the need to try to recruit locally in this situation.

However, in many other cases the spectre of ‘local recruitment first’ looms large.

The general rule of thumb is that the lower the skill set required to do the job, the more likely the Hong Kong Immigration Department will expect a local recruitment exercise to have been completed prior to the foreign national applicant being offered the position.

The same holds true for work that is remunerated at the lower end of the approvability scale (being about HKD200,000 per annum).

For those employers trying to pre-empt this challenge, you need to be aware that undertaking a local recruitment exercise that can be said to be mere window dressing is a 2 pronged barb.

On the one hand, the mere fact you undertake a local recruitment exercise first is tacit admission that the job CAN be done by a local person and the HKID will latch on to this and possibly use it to undermine your argument  for visa approvability.

In this instance they will ask you to submit copies of the CVs received in response to the campaign and then decide for themselves if any of the candidates are suitable – and then refuse the employment visa application on the grounds that the skills CAN be found locally.

So care needs to be taken in considering the ‘local employee first’ aspect of securing an employment visa in Hong Kong.

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The Hong Kong Visa Geeza (a.k.a Stephen Barnes) is a co-founder of the Hong Kong Visa Centre and author of the Hong Kong Visa Handbook. A law graduate of the London School of Economics, Stephen has been practicing Hong Kong immigration since 1993 and is widely acknowledged as the leading authority on business immigration matters here for the last 24 years.

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