Hong Kong

On July 1st, 1997, Hong Kong was reunited with China. The official name of Hong Kong is the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People´s Republic of China.

Today Hong Kong has many differences from the mainland China such as having different economic systems as well as political systems making it almost an independent "country" by itself. There are currently about seven million people living in the Hong Kong area making it one of the most densely populated cities in the world. (6,410 people per square kilometer)

Hong Kong uses its own currency and has low taxes and has an excellent trading economy being the twelfth largest in the world. Part of this is due to its good Geographic location and easily accessible human labor.

Hong Kong is a world city and is one of the Al¬pha+ cities. It ranks the 5th most important city all over the world in Global cities index in 2014, after New York City, London, Tokyo and Paris. It has the largest income inequality among advanced economies. It also has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, and has a high Human Development Index and high international rankings in financial and economic competitiveness. As Hong Kong ranks as the third most important international financial centre, after London and New York City, it has a major capitalist service economy characterised by low taxation and free trade, and the currency, the Hong Kong dollar, is the eighth most traded currency in the world. The limited space created demand for denser construction, which developed the city into a centre for modern architecture and the world´s most vertical city. The confined area has also led to a highly developed transportation network with the public transport travelling rate exceeding 90 percent, the highest in the world. Air pollution and smog is a serious problem with loose emission standards and a high level of atmospheric particulates compared to other advanced economies.

Hong Kong is located on the Southeast tip of the P.R.C some 1200 km  from Shanghai, the next largest city and nearly 2000km from the capital of Beijing.

Hong Kong covers Hong Kong Island, Lantau Island, the Kowloon Peninsula and the New Territories, including 262 outlying islands. Between Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula lies Victoria Harbour, one of the world´s most renowned deep-water harbors.

Summers in Hong Kong are hot and include frequent rainfalls while the winters are cold and dry. During the year, there is over 2,000mm of rainfall most of which occurs from the end of spring to the beginning of autumn.

  • Average annual rainfall: 2,214.3 mm
  • Wettest month: August
  • Winter: January-March
  • Summer: July-September

Visit Visa
Citizens of several countries are allowed to visit Hong Kong without a visa for between seven and 180 days. These include the UK, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Singapore, Spain, and the US.

If you need a visa you should apply for it at the Chinese embassy or consulate in your home country. The application process can take up to four weeks, but the time depends on the consulate and how busy they are. You may be able to ask, but the best thing to do is leave more than enough time before your trip to get the visa. Note that once you travel to Hong Kong on a visitor’s visa you are not permitted to change to an employment visa without leaving and re-entering first (irrespective of your nationality).

Work Visa
To get an employment visa you must have a job in a sponsoring company that is willing to employ you and carry out the application process for your permit. The sponsoring company has to prove that you have the necessary skills for the job and that a local worker could not fill the position. When granting work visas, the Immigration Department considers the applicant’s education, job experience and other factors.

The application for your work visa is not submitted by you, but by your future employer. The company has to submit a confirmed offer of employment, and proof that the remuneration package includes salary, accommodation, medical and educational provisions, as well as other benefits appropriate for professionals in Hong Kong.

The application process takes four to six weeks, after which the entry visa is issued to your employer, who should forward it to you. Once you get your visa, you can apply for residency for your spouse and children as well.

Work visas are normally granted for the duration of your employment contract. However, they are not generally for a duration of more than 2 years. If the company wants to employ you for longer, towards the end of your visa period it has to apply for a renewal, which is quite straightforward.

A Hong Kong employment visa is not transferable from one company to another. If you resign or are fired, you will need to apply for another visa and restarting the process. Your sponsoring employer is obliged to notify the Immigration Department if you leave. Intra-company transfers are possible for employees who have worked for over 12 months in an overseas office.

If you want to do extra work outside the scope of your existing visa, you should apply for permission to for this additional employment. In order to do so, you need to submit your visa application form from the Immigration Department, together with your ID card, passport, a description of the work you have been contracted to do and a letter from your current work visa sponsor giving permission for you to take up the work.

Investment Visa
Investment visas are issued to self-employed people in Hong Kong. In order to apply for an investment visa, you will need to complete a large amount of paperwork detailing your educational background, professional experience, the proposed business activities, capital and details of the activity and the jobs it will create.

Dependant Visa
If you have a work or business visa you sponsor residency visa applications for your spouse and children below the age of 18. Bear in mind that if you lose their employment status, they also lose their visa rights. As a Hong Kong permanent resident you are can also sponsor your parents if they are aged 60 or above.

To apply for a dependant visa you will need to present the passports and birth certificates of your family and a marriage certificate (if applicable). The Immigration Department will also require proof your can support your family and that the sponsored family members have no criminal record. Dependant spouses of foreign workers with a work visa are permitted to take up employment.

Student Visa
Student visas are handled very much like work visas. To get a student visa, your sponsoring educational institution will need to apply for the visa on your behalf.

Permanent Residency
Permanent residence status may be granted to people who have lived continuously in Hong Kong for seven years. In addition, you need to fulfill certain requirements which include proficiency in Cantonese. If you have permanent residency status you can live in Hong Kong and work at any company without a visa. If you later leave Hong Kong for longer than 3 years you lose permanent residency status.

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