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Hong Kong Top Talent Pass | 51,000 Approvals | 36,000 Arrivals | 160,000 Applications

February 1st, 2024

Posted in Feature Article, Musing, The Hong Kong Visa Geeza /


Hong Kong Top Talent Pass

Attracting 36,000 Skilled Professionals to Hong Kong

Hong Kong Top Talent Pass


Accurate Numbers Surface

In recent years, Hong Kong has experienced a notable increase in skilled individuals migrating to the region. This influx can be primarily attributed to the Hong Kong Top Talent Pass program, which aims to attract the best talent from around the world. According to data recently released, so far, the program has approved approximately 51,000 applications, with around 36,000 talented individuals already making Hong Kong their new home. This initiative has made a significant contribution to the local workforce, reinforcing Hong Kong’s reputation as a global hub for skilled professionals.

There has been a lot of other data released that speaks to the popularity of the programme so far but the numbers in play appear to be 51,000 approved, 36,000 activated, and 160,000 applications.

Diverse Origins of Top Talents

The Hong Kong Top Talent Pass program has attracted professionals from various backgrounds, but it is noteworthy that more than 90% of applicants originate from mainland China. However, this program also appeals to professionals from beyond mainland China, highlighting its international allure. Among the participants, about 60% are alumni of prestigious universities in mainland China, while the remaining 40% have received their education from renowned institutions in Europe and the United States. This diverse educational background enriches the professional landscape of Hong Kong, bringing in a range of perspectives and expertise.

Family Integration and Commitment to Hong Kong

The program not only attracts professionals but also allows dependents to relocate. Around 21,000 minors have been welcomed under the program, as part of the approximately 36,000 dependents who have made Hong Kong their new home. This demographic detail is crucial as it signifies the long-term commitment of these professionals to Hong Kong. Their families have integrated into the local education system, which has proven adequate to accommodate this influx.

Proactive Approach to Talent Retention

The Hong Kong government has been proactive in monitoring the integration and settlement of these talented individuals. Through follow-up surveys, authorities aim to gain insights to further refine and enhance the program. This forward-thinking strategy demonstrates the government’s commitment not only to attracting top-tier talent but also to retaining them.

Local Lawmakers’ Opinions and Government’s Stance

The program has sparked discourse among local lawmakers, with opinions varying on different aspects. Some emphasize the importance of diversifying the talent pool by attracting professionals from a broader geographical spectrum. Others express concerns about potential challenges newcomers might face in terms of employment and navigating the local business ecosystem. The government remains vigilant, addressing concerns by regulating “illegal agencies” and providing legitimate pathways for talent retention, including considerations around visa renewals through investment.

Striking a Balance for Local Employment

Criticism has been directed towards the program’s criteria, with concerns about its impact on local employment dynamics. However, Hong Kong’s low unemployment rate, currently at 2.9%, suggests a strong demand for skilled labour that these professionals can help meet. Balancing supplementing the local workforce with international talent and ensuring integration benefits both newcomers and the existing community is crucial.

Maintaining Integrity and Ensuring Fairness

The government’s approach of not currently considering investment-based visa renewals reflects its cautious policy adjustments. This decision underscores the program’s commitment to maintaining integrity, ensuring it serves its intended purpose of enriching the local talent pool without compromising quality or fairness.

Last Words …

The Hong Kong Top Talent Pass program showcases Hong Kong’s strategic vision of becoming a vibrant, diverse, and competitive global city. Its success, attracting a significant number of skilled professionals and their families, contributes to the socio-economic fabric of Hong Kong, promising a future of innovation and growth. As Hong Kong continues to navigate the complexities of global talent mobility, the insights gained from this initiative will shape its evolution into an even more attractive destination for the world’s best and brightest.


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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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