Hong Kong has a special regime for non-local students, the Immigration Arrangements for Non-local Graduates, most commonly referred to as the IANG visa Hong Kong. With some exceptions, this visa allows foreign nationals to work in the Special Administrative Region, provided that they followed and completed and accredited programme.
In this article, our lawyers in Hong Kong answer a few basic questions about this type of visa that can be of interest and present advantages to former students. Should you need to know more, or have answers about special situations (such as the entry of dependants, in some cases), our team is ready to give you additional information.
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What is the IANG visa Hong Kong?
The IANG visa is intended for individual who are or were non-local students in Hong Kong and have obtained an undergraduate accreditation or a full-time qualification for another higher, locally accredited programme. These non-local graduates can apply to remain in Hong Kong under the IANG visa.
One should note that, when the eligibility criteria are met, individuals can also return to work under the IANG visa Hong Kong.
What are the eligibility criteria for this type of visa?
The visa intended for non-local students is not restricted to a specific sector and is not limited (it is not subject to a quota). However, it does not apply to foreign nationals of: Afghanistan, Cuba, Nepal, Laos or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. In case of Vietnamese students, the IANG visa in Hong Kong can only be applied for by students who have obtained a higher accreditation issued by the institutions funded by the University Grants Committee, with some exceptions.
It should be noted that a foreign student first entering Hong Kong will need a student visa/entry permit, issued by the Director of Immigration. The information presented herein for the IANG visa is not the same as the one for the student visa, which is a prerequisite in order to be able to remain in the SKAR for the duration of the initial studies which then make it possible to remain under the IANG.
Some of the other important issues include the following:
- Application: interested former students can apply for the IANG visa in Hong Kong within 6 months of their graduation date;
- Employment: returning non-local graduates who wish to remain in the HKSAR need to obtain an employment offer after they apply; non-local fresh graduates do not need to have an employment offer upon application;
- Time: in most cases, the applications for this type of visa are processed within 2 weeks for fresh graduates and 4 weeks for returning ones;
- Dependants: the holder of this visa can bring the spouse when a genuine relationship between the two can be proved; this does not apply for Mainland Chinese residents who reside in the Macao Special Administrative Region and have Macao identity cards for less than seven years (except for those who reside under the One-way Permit Scheme) or to nationals of Afghanistan and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
How do you renew the IANG visa?
The application for the extension of the IANG visa in Hong Kong can be submitted within four weeks before the limit of stay expires. The application is submitted to the Quality Migrants and Mainland Residents Section and it is accompanied by the following documents: the filled-in application form, a copy of the applicant’s identity card, original and copy of the valid travel document as well as the supporting documents for employment (or for the change of employer, as may be the case).
Dependents who reside in Hong Kong based on the fact that they are related to an individual admitted under the IANG are also required to apply for the extension of their stay. In some cases, the application can be submitted by an authorized person and our team of Hong Kong lawyers can help you in this case.
According to the Education Bureau, the number of non-local students enrolled in Hong Kong for the year 2020/21 was the following:
- Total number of students for all study levels: 19,488;
- Research postgraduate students: 6,910;
- Taught postgraduate: 101
- Undergraduates: 12,477.
The data also shows that the number of female undergraduate students is larger (53%) and the number of research postgraduate men enrolled in programmes in Hong Kong is higher (55.3%). Overall, more women are enrolled in Hong Kong University Grants Committee Programmes.
Contact the experts at our law firm in Hong Kong for more information about the IANG visa Hong Kong, how to apply, and how you can return to the HKSAR if you were a student here.