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Hong Kong Top Talent Pass Scheme | November 2023 | Where Are We Now?

November 14th, 2023

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Feature Article, Investment Visas, Musing, Special Programmes / 2 responses


 

Hong Kong Top Talent Pass Scheme Visa

Going Like Hot Cakes …

Hong Kong Top Talent Pass Scheme

                 Hong Kong Wants Top Talent

The Hong Kong Immigration Department released information about the Top Talent Pass Scheme (“TTPS”) on December 28, 2022.  It’s proving to be quite a hit already!

Hong Kong Top Talent Pass Scheme Eligibility In A Nutshell

Persons who wish to apply to enter the HKSAR under the TTPS are not required to have secured an offer of employment in the HKSAR upon application. They may be granted 24 months’ stay on time limitation only without other conditions of stay provided that normal immigration requirements are met. Applicants may choose to apply for the TTPS under one of the categories as listed in paragraphs (a) to (c) below:

  1. Persons with annual income reaching HK$2.5 million or above, or its equivalent in foreign currency, in the year immediately preceding the date of application (Category A);
  2. Degree graduates of the world’s top 100+ universities  (updated November 2023) with at least three years of work experience over the past five years immediately preceding the date of application (Category B); or
  3. Degree graduates of the world’s top 100 universities in the past five years immediately preceding the date of application with less than three years of work experience, subject to an annual quota which is to be allotted on a first-come, first-served basis (Category C); however, Category C does not apply to those non-local students who have obtained the undergraduate qualification in a full-time and locally-accredited programme in the HKSAR. These folks need to use the IANG programme instead.

Hong Kong Top Talent Pass Scheme – The Nitty Gritty

The Top Talent Pass Scheme (TTPS) is a programme created to facilitate the employment of eligible individuals in Hong Kong.

To qualify for the TTPS, applicants must meet the eligibility criteria of one of the following categories:

(1) Category A: Individuals with an annual income of at least HK$2.5 million (or its equivalent in foreign currency) in the year immediately preceding the application date. The annual income includes taxable employment or business income such as salary, allowances, stock options, and profits from self-owned companies. Personal investment income is not considered.

(2) Category B: Degree graduates from one of the world’s top 100 universities with at least three years of work experience over the past five years immediately preceding the application date.

(3) Category C: Degree graduates from one of the world’s top 100 universities in the past five years immediately preceding the application date with less than three years of work experience. This category is subject to an annual quota allotted on a first-come, first-served basis. However, Category C does not apply to non-local students who have obtained their undergraduate qualification in a full-time, locally-accredited program in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).

To apply for the TTPS, individuals must submit an online application and upload the required supporting documents.

Applicants will be notified of the result of their application via email.

For Category A applicants, they must submit the necessary supporting documents to prove their income reached HK$2.5 million or above in the past year. These documents may include a notice of salaries tax assessment from a local competent authority (e.g., taxation office or revenue department), documentary proof issued by the applicant’s employing company specifying the value of stock options granted to the applicant, and/or documentary proof of the financial standing of the applicant’s self-owned companies (e.g., the latest audited financial report, trading profit and loss account, or profit tax return) if applicable. If an applicant’s income is not denominated in Hong Kong dollars, they can choose from 17 other major currencies available in the online application service. After selecting the currency, the computer system will automatically convert the applicant’s income into Hong Kong dollars. If the applicant’s income is not denominated in Hong Kong dollars or one of the 17 foreign currencies, they may convert their income into Hong Kong dollars or one of the 17 foreign currencies when submitting the online application, and then upload the relevant supporting documents to the Immigration Department for assessment.

For applicants in Categories B and C, the level of academic qualifications obtained from the world’s top 100 universities must be equivalent to the recognized Hong Kong standard of bachelor’s degrees. Honorary bachelor’s degrees will not be accepted. Master’s or doctoral degrees are not eligible for these categories.

The updated list of the world’s top 100+ universities can be found here.

If an applicant has not yet obtained their graduation certificate, they may apply for the TTPS by providing documentary proof issued by the relevant university or institution confirming that they have graduated.

Under the TTPS, the “three-year work experience” requirement for Category B must come from full-time employment or self-employment after graduation.

For Category C, “graduation in the past 5 years” is counted by the year of graduation. The “aggregate list of the world’s top 100 universities” is compiled by the Labour and Welfare Bureau based on the top 100 universities in four designated world university rankings in the past 5 years.

Persons admitted under Categories A, B, or C of the TTPS will be granted an initial stay of 24 months without other conditions of stay. They can change jobs without notifying the Immigration Department and do not require a re-entry visa/entry permit if they return within their permitted limit of stay.

TTPS-approved individuals can apply to bring their spouse, same-sex civil partner, and unmarried dependent children under the age of 18 as dependents, provided they can support them financially and provide suitable accommodation.

There is no specific application form for a TTPS application and you can submit your TTPS application for yourself and up to eight accompanying dependents via an exclusively online application process.

Dependents admitted under the TTPS can take up employment or study in Hong Kong.

When applying for an extension of stay under the TTPS, applicants must have secured an offer of employment or proof of business. Extensions are granted on a 3-3 year pattern. The Immigration Department assesses the eligibility criterion of a job at a level commonly taken up by degree holders on a case-by-case basis. TTPS persons meeting specific criteria may apply for assessment under the top-tier employment stream upon extension of stay, and successful applicants will be granted a six-year extension.

Unemployed applicants may be refused further extension. TTPS applicants can only be granted “initial stay” once, and if they leave Hong Kong and their limit of stay expires, they must apply through immigration policies or schemes other than the TTPS to return for employment or residence.

As a current resident you can apply for this status and, if approved, be granted an entry TTPS visa to be activated by exiting Hong Kong and re-entering to commence your 2 year limit of stay. Your dependant family members’ limit of stay will be updated to match that of the principal once the substantive TTPS visa has been activated. If your current residence visa look likes it will expire prior to formal grant of your TTPS visa it is recommended that you consult with the Immigration Officer tasked with your TTPS application to see how ImmD wish to manage your ongoing residence status in the event of expiry prior to TTPS approval.

Hong Kong Top Talent Pass Scheme – 160,000 Applications & Counting?

By February 2023, 7,500  TTPS applications had been received with 5,800 approved. By the 29th of March 2023, 10,000 approvals had come in.

By November 2023 160,000 applications had been received and 100,000 had been approved!

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The Hong Kong Visa Geeza (a.k.a Stephen Barnes) is a co-founder of the Hong Kong Visa Centre and author of the Hong Kong Visa Handbook. A law graduate of the London School of Economics, Stephen has been practicing Hong Kong immigration since 1993 and is widely acknowledged as the leading authority on business immigration matters here for the last 24 years.

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RESPONSES
  • O

    4 Aug 2023 am31 1:53am
    01

    So having lived in HK for 3 years as work visa sponsored but now looking for a change, with a bachelor from top 100, but MSC not from top 100, I am eligible for this scheme? It would make it easier to change employers if I don’t need work visa sponsorship lol.

    • The Visa Geeza

      4 Aug 2023 pm31 9:29pm
      02

      Yes, you’re eligible.

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