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Interview: Is There a Threshold to Attaining a Hong Kong Work Visa Under the General Employment Policy?

January 8th, 2014

Posted in Employment Visas, Investment Visas, Musing, The Hong Kong Visa Geeza /


Watch this video on YouTube.

On June 6th, 2013 I was interviewed by five law students from the Chinese University of Hong Kong about my experiences practicing immigration here over the last 20 years.

We covered a great deal of ground in the 90 minutes we spent together and over the next few weeks I will be posting the interview broken down into 31 different segments, covering almost every Hong Kong related visa and immigration topic there is.

The students were: Dickens Roy Ken LamSunny WongToby Yip, Margaret Wo and the lady who asked most of the questions and organised the session on behalf of the group, Jacqueline Cheng.

In this segment the question posed was:

Is There a Threshold to Attaining a Hong Kong Work Visa Under the General Employment Policy?

My friends and colleagues over at Astus Services Group very kindly hosted us in their facilities in Central for this interview.

Other Questions Asked During the Session

How has the experience of Hong Kong immigration policy changed over the last 20 years?

Do you personally find Hong Kong an attractive place to live, work and do business?

How has Hong Kong’s attractiveness changed for you over the last 27 years?

Do your clients typically find Hong Kong’s attractiveness today as it was to you 27 years ago?

Do Mainlanders typically enjoy the same kind of immigration experience as other foreign nationals do in Hong Kong?

In what ways do you think the different entry schemes may affect Hong Kong’s socio-economic development?

Do you think the relatively low number of foreigners coming to live and work in Hong Kong is due to it being hard to get a visa? 

Do you think that the Immigration Department suitably promote and encourage participation in the various schemes designed to attract foreign national talent to Hong Kong?

How effective is the Hong Kong Immigration Department’s website in educating and promoting Hong Kong to the outside world as a place to live and work and do business?

In the last 20 years which visa type has been most in demand and easiest to anticipate an approval for?

Has Hong Kong’s effort to forge a particular social fabric through the constructs of its immigration policy been successful do you think?

In real terms what is the difference between the General Employment Policy and the Admission of Mainland Talents & Professionals Scheme?

Has there been any demographic change since the introduction of the Admission of Mainland Talents and Quality Migrant Admission Schemes?

What do you think about the Immigration Arrangement for Non-local graduates?

Do you think that IANG actually allows a loophole for foreign graduates to game the immigration system here?

Has Hong Kong ever been used as a kind of stepping stone into another immigration jurisdiction?

Do you think the special programmes designed  for Mainland residents are as attractive now as they were when they were first introduced?

Is there a threshold to attaining a visa under the General Employment Policy?

What’s actually involved in getting a Hong Kong investment visa approved?

Can it be said ImmD are sometimes lax in enforcing immigration policy? 

Which visa program would be most beneficial for Hong Kong’s society?

What was it like being an immigration consultant in Hong Kong during the time of SARS?

 We hypothesize that while the influx of non-residents into Hong Kong may benefit the economy in the short-term, the long-term negative impacts outweigh any short-term positives.  Do you agree with this statement?

 Do you think that there is preferential treatment to non-resident workers?

 What do you think is the most difficult challenge facing Hong Kong now, when it comes to competing for foreign talents and workers? (i.e. as compared to the 3 other Asian Tigers)

What’s your view on Hong Kong’s liberal visitor visa arrangements, especially regarding the large numbers of Mainlanders who come here now?

So we have 20,000 vacancies in the F+B industry but we don’t have people to fill these spots – what are ImmD doing about it?

What about the possibility of a graduate management trainee visa for a foreign national applicant?

How well does ImmD respond to the lack of skills in Hong Kong through adjustments to the General Employment Policy from time to time?

Do you think any improvements could be made on the entry schemes? If so, how?

What do you think is the biggest problem in dealing with ImmD as an organisation tasked with the dual role of providing a public service yet serving as the gatekeeper to Hong Kong?

More Stuff You Might Find Interesting or Useful

 10 Must Have resources for a Hong Kong investment visa application

What’s the situation regarding the need for business premises as part of a Hong Kong investment visa application?

What are your visa options in Hong Kong if your marriage has irretrievably broken down?

The Hong Kong Immigration Department are out to deny – not approve – applications (aren’t they?)

Relocating to Hong Kong for work or business – why do some applications get denied?


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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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