General Policy on Entry for Employment
The Immigration Department is responsible for handling matters relating to the
entry of foreigners for employment. Foreigners may work or invest in Hong Kong if
they possess special skills, knowledge or experience of value to and not readily
available in Hong Kong and receive salaries broadly commensurate with those on the
market, or who can make a substantial contribution to the economy.
Genuine business people and entrepreneurs are welcome to establish a presence
in Hong Kong, bringing with them capital and expertise. Qualified professionals,
technical people, administrators and managers are also admitted with minimum
formalities. During the year, 21 958 foreign professionals and people with technical,
administrative or managerial skills from more than 100 countries/territories were
admitted for employment.
Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals
The Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals launched in 2003
was set up to attract talented people and professionals to work in Hong Kong to
meet local manpower needs and to enhance Hong Kong's competitiveness in the
world market. (Further details of this scheme are given in Chapter 20).
Employment of Mainland Graduates with Hong Kong Degrees
Mainland students who have graduated from institutions funded by the
University Grants Committee (UGC) since 1990 may be admitted for employment,
provided they possess special skills or knowledge of value to, but not readily available
in Hong Kong and who are paid salaries broadly commensurate with those on the
open market. This scheme was extended in July 2005 to those who studied at
non-UGC-funded institutions during the academic year 2005-06 and thereafter, and
who obtained degrees or higher accreditations from local institutions where they
studied full-time. The aim of this arrangement is to attract outstanding Mainland
students who have completed full-time degree or higher level courses to re-enter
Hong Kong for employment.
Supplementary Labour Scheme
Under the Supplementary Labour Scheme, employers may apply to import
workers to fill vacancies at technician level or below. The Government's policy on
importation of labour is based on two cardinal principles:
|local workers must be given priority in filling job vacancies available in the job
|employers who are genuinely unable to recruit local workers to fill their job
vacancies should be allowed to import workers.
All applications under the scheme are considered on a case-by-case basis. To
ensure priority of employment for local workers, each application to import workers
has to pass three tests before it is submitted to the Labour Advisory Board for
consideration and to the Government for a decision. These tests are: advertising in
newspapers, job-matching by the Labour Department for four weeks, and organising
retraining courses with the assistance of the Employees Retraining Board for local
workers, if appropriate.
In early 2006, a series of measures under the Supplementary Labour Scheme was
introduced as a pilot exercise for the textiles and clothing industry to facilitate a more
flexible importation of skilled workers that Hong Kong was lacking.
As at the end of 2006, there were 1 144 imported workers working in Hong
Foreign Domestic Helpers
Foreign domestic helpers may be admitted subject to the conditions that they
have relevant working experience, and that their employers are Hong Kong residents
who are prepared to offer reasonable terms of employment including suitable
accommodation and wages not lower than the level of the minimum allowable wage
set by the Government. Their employers must also be willing to provide for their
maintenance and the cost of their passage home. Employers must also satisfy
requirements on income and assets.
In general, the demand for foreign domestic helpers has increased over the past
three decades. At the end of 2006, there were 232 780 such helpers in Hong Kong,
an increase of 4.3 per cent over the 223 200 in 2005. About 51.9 per cent were from
the Philippines and 44.7 per cent from Indonesia.