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Will Vocational Rather Than Academic Qualifications Satisfy ImmD When Making a Hong Kong Work Visa Application?

January 6th, 2024

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Uncategorized, Your Question Answered / No responses


Hong Kong Work Visa

Is A Degree An Absolute Pre-Requisite?

Is it always absolutely necessary to call upon a university degree qualification in order to get a Hong Kong work visa application approved?

Hong Kong work visa


I have found a job here and am now in the process of applying for a Hong Kong work visa.

It is a Quality Assurance position in the garment business.

My qualification  (garment / fashion design) is from a French polytechnique which is vocational and not academic in nature.

I have 20 years of professional experience which I can readily prove with letters of references etc.

Further I am French and hence can speak French which is necessary because my employer is a French joint-venture company.

I heard that an academic degree is necessary for a Hong Kong work visa and that applications can be rejected for that reason.

Is there anything that can be done to maximize the chances to get the Hong Kong work visa all things considered?

In case of a rejection, is there a possibility to apply again?


In order to be deemed a professional for the purposes of the general employment policy in Hong Kong, which is the policy under which the Immigration Department issue employment visas to foreign nationals, there is an expectation that you will be a university degree holder with at least 2 years post-graduation working experience in the managerial or supervisory capacity to expect approval as I say as a professional.

However, on occasion if you don’t have formal degree qualifications but you have something less than a degree, say technical qualifications, then the Immigration Department will accept those technical qualifications in lieu of a degree qualification, if your post qualification working experience is at least 5 years as opposed to 2 under the degree, so that’s 5 years for technical qualifications.

So, given that you appear to have technical qualifications in garment and fashion design, and you have got 20 years of professional experience thereafter, it’s fair to say that the Immigration Department will certainly treat you as a professional for the purposes of the general employment policy, and on the basis that your job offer is coming from a suitable and credible sponsor, and that the compensation that’s being offered to you is broadly commensurate with market rates for a position such as that which has been offered to you, and the amount of experience that you have being commensurate with the pay that you’re receiving again for that work that you’re going to be doing, then the Immigration Department won’t refuse your visa on the strength of the nature of your qualifications in your circumstances, so, I won’t worry about that too much.

And in terms of rejection what I’ve done to answer your question is included a number of links at the bottom of this post which speak to the arrangements that you can follow if unfortunately, your visa doesn’t get approved after you’ve applied for it.

Okay I hope you found that useful.


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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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