In recent weeks, starting in February this year, the government have announced that various immigration programmes in Hong Kong would be modified, requiring applicants to declare their criminal record status before obtaining an entry visa to come and live in the HKSAR (and not just those arriving for employment).
A Hong Kong work visas-criminal record declaration is now needed as the Immigration Department confirmed last week that changes would also be made to talent admission schemes, the General Employment Policy and basically every other soul seeking to come and live in Hong Kong for any reason!
- Top Talent Pass Scheme.
- Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals.
- Technology Talent Admission Scheme.
- Immigration Arrangements for Non-local Graduates.
- Admission Scheme for the Second Generation of Chinese Hong Kong Permanent Residents.
- Student Visas
- Working Holiday Visas
- Foreign Domestic Helpers
- Dependant Visas
Starting June 19, 2023 all applicants for these programs will now have to disclose any criminal convictions during their application. This rounded up the arrangements which came into force in February for just some of the visa types.
This change follows the controversy surrounding He Jiakui, a Chinese scientist who was granted a visa under the Top Talent Pass Scheme despite his previous criminal record.
Hong Kong Work Visas-Criminal Record Declaration – Spent Convictions?
Of course, the million dollar question right now is will the existence of a prior criminal conviction automatically disqualify an applicant? If not, what is the threshold? Will ‘spent’ convictions need to be disclosed?
Will spent convictions ‘clear the decks’?