UK nationals are allowed to visit Hong Kong for six months without a visa. However, those who plan to work, study, open a business or stay for longer periods are required to apply for a type if visa that suits their purpose of stay.
In order to immigrate to Hong Kong from UK, a British national will need to observe the requirements set forth by the authorities regarding temporary and permanent residence.
UK nationals can obtain the right of abode, meaning that they will have permanent residency in Hong Kong, if they have lawfully spent at least seven years in the HKSAR, either or business or other purposes. The application for the right of abode/residency is submitted to the Director of Immigration and one is granted this status only upon the receipt the Director’s clear approval.
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Ways to enter Hong Kong
Foreign nationals coming from the United Kingdom can enter Hong Kong for long-term purposes for employment, study or investment. These are common ways in which they can obtain residence, followed by permanent residence for those who wish to immigrate to Hong Kong from UK. The right of abode is obtained after a continuous period of seven years. When this step takes place, the person needs to make a statement in which he or she will stipulate that Hong Kong is the permanent place of residence.
The main ways of entering the Special Administrative Region are listed below:
- General employment: for UK nationals who have applied for a genuine job vacancy in Hong Kong and have confirmed employment for a position relevant to one’s qualifications and/or experience;
- Students: for British citizens who are admitted to a private school, a full-time or part-time locally-accredited post-graduate programme or full-time course in a higher education or professional course;
- Investment as entrepreneur: a British investor who has the means to open a company or a start-up In Hong Kong can apply for this type of visa; conditions are in place for the investment amount and the number of jobs as well as the introduction of new technology, when or if applicable.
- Others: entrepreneurs can also choose to make a capital investment in Hong Kong without being involved in running a business; a requirement for net assets of a minimum amount is in place for this scheme.
Some of the fees applicable for visas valid at the time this article were written are the following:
- $230: ordinary visa;
- $120: transit visa;
- $230: change of conditions of stay or the extension of the limit of stay.
The fees are imposed by the Hong Kong Immigration Department.
The information provided in this article serves as reference for the main conditions that need to be taken into consideration in order to immigrate to Hong Kong from UK. For more information on the Immigration Department’s specific requirements, please do not hesitate to contact our lawyers in Hong Kong.
The Quality Migrant Admission Scheme
This can be a suitable manner in which British nationals who are qualified in a certain field can choose to enter Hong Kong for long-term stay purposes and perhaps even to immigrate to Hong Kong from UK. An important issue to keep in mind about the scheme is that it is base don a quota, allowing only those highly skilled or talented individuals to enter the Special Administrative Region for the purpose of enhancing its competitiveness.
The following steps are essential for UK-based applicants:
- Initial check of prerequisites: the applicant needs to meet the requirements for age, financial means, good character, language proficient and basic education qualification;
- Test: this either a general is a points-based or one based on individual achievements; six scoring points are taken into consideration for the general test;
- Selection exercise: the applicant who satisfies the conditions for the prerequisites and the minimum passing mark is ranked according to these scores;
- Approval: once the individual passes the selection exercise, he receives the approval-in principle;
- Visa or permit: a British national who is accepted under this scheme will finally receive the visa or entry permit for staying in Hong Kong.
Our lawyers in Hong Kong can provide more details on the entry of dependants under this scheme as well as how the Quality Migrants Admission Scheme can be used by those who qualify and who wish to immigrate to Hong Kong from UK.
Hong Kong immigration statistics
The Hong Kong Immigration Department keeps statistics on the number of visas applied for each purpose every year. The following apply for 2019 and the first half of 2020:
- 11,474 applications for employment and investment in Hong Kong in 2020 and 3,174 for students;
- 41,289 applications for employment and investment in 2019 and 11,188 applications for student visas;
- 238,864 non-permanent residents individuals were granted an extension of stay in the first half of 2020.
If you would like to know more about how to immigrate to Hong Kong from UK, as well as receive personalized answers to your questions and related topics, please contact the immigration experts at our law firm in Hong Kong.