Hong Kong: New Technology Employment Visa Program Piloted

The Hong Kong government has announced a three-year pilot scheme of a new employment visa, the Technology Talent Admission Scheme, which is expected to streamline the admission of research and development professionals from overseas and mainland China participating in either the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation or the Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited.

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May 10, 2018
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The situation

A new employment visa program, the Technology Talent Admission Scheme (TechTAS), for eligible foreign and Mainland Chinese nationals engaged in research and development, will be piloted starting June 2018.

A closer look

  • Company eligibility. To qualify for sponsorship of foreign nationals under the TechTAS visa, a company must be:
    • A participant in the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTPC) or Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited (Cyberport);
    • Seeking to work in one of the following technological fields: biotechnology, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, robotics, data analytics, financial technologies or material science.

 

  • Streamlined application process. Qualified companies will need to apply for a quota through HKSTPC or Cyberport. Once granted, they can use the quota to sponsor a TechTAS visa application for their employee with the Immigration Department. The government foresees a typical processing time of two weeks, upon receipt of all required documents.

 

  • Employee eligibility. The sponsored employee must be:
    • Employed as a full-time employee in Hong Kong by the sponsoring company;
    • Engaged principally in conducting research and development in the above-mentioned technology fields;
    • A STEM degree-holder from one of the top 100 universities in the latest STEM-related ranking tables of the QS World University Rankings, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings or the Academic Ranking of World Universities;
    • Have at least one year of work experience in a relevant technology field for Bachelor's degree holders (work experience is not compulsory for those with a Master's or Doctoral degree);
    • Offered a salary broadly commensurate with the prevailing market level for comparable jobs in Hong Kong.

 

  • Program details. TechTAS visa holders may apply to sponsor their spouse and unmarried dependent children under the age of 18 under the visa. TechTAS visa holders can apply for permanent residence after seven years of continuous residence.

 

Impact

Qualified foreign nationals should benefit from the streamlined TechTAS visa process, which will allow them to start working in Hong Kong sooner than under other visas. Technology companies awarded quotas will no longer need to comply with the requirement to repeatedly demonstrate local recruitment failure every time they seek to bring in talent. Fragomen will provide more details on the quota process as they become available.

Looking ahead

The pilot of this program will last for three years. During its first year, the government is expected to issue up to 1,000 TechTAS visas.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to HKInitiations@fragomen.com.

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Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, Fragomen Global LLP and affiliates, (collectively known as “Fragomen Worldwide”) is the world’s largest firm dedicated to corporate immigration, and is recognized as the leading global immigration services provider.

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