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New Visa Policy Initiatives | Boosting Hong Kong’s Economy | Attracting Foreign Talent | Promoting Inward Investment

October 25th, 2023

Posted in Employment Visas, Feature Article, Investment Visas, Musing, Special Programmes, The Hong Kong Visa Geeza /


New Visa Policy Initiatives Expand the Top Talent Pass Scheme, Relax Certain Visa Requirements & Reintroduce the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme

According to the Policy Address by the Chief Executive of Hong Kong delivered on October 25, 2023, the government is introducing a series of new visa policy initiatives aimed at revitalizing the economy and attracting foreign talent.

New Visa Policy

Expanding the Top Talent Pass Scheme

As part of the government’s strategy to promote trade and position Hong Kong as a global business hub, the coverage of universities under the Top Talent Pass Scheme will be expanded. Currently, the scheme grants qualified high earners and graduates from top universities a two-year visa to work or establish businesses in Hong Kong. This new visa policy initiative will increase the number of institutions covered to 184, providing more opportunities for foreign nationals to contribute to the local economy.

Relaxing Visa Requirements for Foreign Nationals

To further facilitate the entry of foreign nationals, the government has announced relaxed visa requirements for certain nationalities. Previously ineligible for Employment, Training, and study visas, Vietnamese, Laotian, and Nepalese nationals will now have the opportunity to access these visas to pursue their professional and academic goals in Hong Kong. This new visa policy initiative’s aim is to attract more talent and help to alleviate the current tight labour market.

Reinstating the Passive Investor Visa Program

The government is reinstating the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme in a major move to attract foreign investment. Eligible foreign investors who invest a minimum of HKD 30 million in stocks, funds, or bonds (excluding real estate) will have the opportunity to apply for entry into Hong Kong. This new visa policy initiative will help stimulate economic growth, showcase Hong Kong as an attractive investment destination, and create new business opportunities.

Introducing a Vocational Professionals Admission Scheme

Recognizing the importance of skilled trade professionals, the government is launching the Vocational Professionals Admission Scheme. This (completely new) ‘study-then-work’ pilot program will allow foreign students from specific vocational schools in Hong Kong to stay an additional year after graduation to find employment in their respective fields. By addressing skills shortages, this scheme aims to create a dynamic and well-equipped workforce to support the growth of Hong Kong’s various industries. This appears to be a boon for the F&B sector (in my view).

Easier Business Travel to Mainland China for Foreign Employees

To facilitate business operations and strengthen ties between Hong Kong and Mainland China, foreign employees of companies registered in Hong Kong will now have the opportunity to apply for a two-year or more multiple-entry Chinese business visa. This change allows for expedited China visa processing via the China Visa Application Service Center, simplifying travel arrangements and promoting seamless business connections between the two regions.

Focus on Economic Growth and Competitiveness

These new visa policy initiatives form part of the government’s broader national plan to improve the economy and enhance Hong Kong’s competitiveness in the global market. In addition to attracting foreign talent and encouraging foreign investment, the government plans to develop key sectors such as industrial, research and development, and information technology. It also aims to foster trade cooperation with Mainland China, attract foreign enterprises to establish headquarters or corporate divisions in Hong Kong, and promote the development of the digital economy.

A Positive Impact

These new visa policy initiatives are set to positively impact businesses seeking to hire and/or deploy foreign nationals to Hong Kong. The focus on streamlining immigration processes, relaxing visa requirements, and promoting economic growth demonstrates our ambition to become a leading global business destination.

More To Come …

I will continue to closely monitor the implementation details of these programs as provided by the Hong Kong Immigration Department. Presently, details are sparse but once available, will publish them here and also update the large language model to include them in our body of Hong Kong immigration know-how on demand.

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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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