Hong Kong: Immigration update | June 2023


In brief

In this alert, we include a summary of recent changes to immigration in Hong Kong:

1. Expansion of talent list to selected talent admission schemes

2. Hong Kong government expands criminal conviction declaration to more visa schemes

In detail

1. Expansion of talent list to selected talent admission schemes

On 16 May 2023, the Hong Kong government announced the expansion of its talent list, increasing the coverage from 13 to 51 professions for the purposes of (i) attracting a wider range of high-quality talents to Hong Kong and (ii) supporting Hong Kong’s social and economic development needs.

In 2018, the talent list was initially introduced in a targeted manner to identify professions most in demand in Hong Kong. The updated talent list now includes two new industry segments, namely “Healthcare Services” and “Development and Construction”.

Newly added professions such as nurses, doctors, mid-wives, dentists, architects, land surveyors and various engineering roles have been included to ease a manpower shortage in the construction industries.

The expanded list applies to applicants under the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS), the General Employment Policy (GEP) and the Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals (ASMTP). Under the GEP and ASMTP, employers who wish to fill vacancies from the talent list may be exempted from taking a market availability test whilst qualified applicants can receive additional points under the scoring system in QMAS. However, applicants still must meet certain requirements before joining the workforce particularly in the medical and construction industries, including attaining the required university degrees, passing relevant exams and obtaining relevant work experiences.

2. Hong Kong government expands criminal conviction declaration to more visa schemes

The Hong Kong government announced that from 19 June 2023, applicants seeking entry to Hong Kong are required to declare any criminal convictions when they apply for relevant entry visas and provide relevant details. In addition to the five existing selected talent admission schemes, this declaration now also applies to other visa / entry permits including student visas, working holiday visas, training visas, dependent visas, and entry visas for foreign domestic helpers and imported workers.

However, such declarations will not be required for those applying for extension of stay applications. Foreign domestic helpers who are changing employers or renewing their contracts with the same employer in Hong Kong are also exempt. However, if their contracts end and they return to their home countries, they will need to provide this declaration when they return to Hong Kong.

During the transitional period, the Hong Kong Immigration Department (HKID) continues to process applications received on or before 18 June 2023, regardless of whether any declaration on criminal convictions has been made.

Due to this new disclosure requirement, additional background checks may be conducted by the handling officers at the HKID. Thus, applicants may experience longer processing times in their visa/entry permit applications. Furthermore, applicants who fail to disclose serious criminal convictions or offences may have their applications rejected or visas cancelled.

The Hong Kong government will continue to adjust and review various visa policies and related procedures from time to time, and make timely adjustments based on the current situation.


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