Permanent Residence in Hongkong: All You Need to Know

You’ve braved the crowded MTR and mastered the art of ordering dim sum — so what’s next?

The ultimate badge of a seasoned expat: Permanent Residence in Hong Kong.

Let this guide be your lantern through the often foggy landscape of PR applications.


Permanent Residence in Hong Kong

Getting permanent residency in Hong Kong is a significant and important step for anyone looking for stability and integration in this vibrant, international metropolis.

Hong Kong, which is known for being a financial center and a melting pot of cultures, provides permanent residents with a number of advantages, including the flexibility to live and work without being constrained by schedules, access to basic services, and the opportunity to sponsor family members.

This manual will offer a thorough examination of the numerous routes to permanent residence, highlighting the important details.

Types Of Permanent Residency In Hong Kong

Hong Kong offers several distinct pathways to obtaining permanent residency, each tailored to specific categories of individuals.

These pathways encompass various professional backgrounds, financial capacities, and family circumstances. Here are the primary types of permanent residency options available:

General Employment Policy (GEP)

The GEP pathway targets skilled professionals with a job offer from a Hong Kong employer. Applicants should possess relevant qualifications and experience in their respective fields.

This scheme is designed to attract individuals who can contribute to the local economy and workforce.

Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS)

QMAS is a points-based system that welcomes skilled professionals and entrepreneurs. Points are assigned based on factors such as age, education, work experience, language proficiency, and more.

Capital Investment Entrant Scheme (CIES)

Geared towards high-net-worth investors, the CIES demands a substantial investment in Hong Kong’s economy.

Applicants are required to invest in designated assets, contributing to the city’s financial growth and stability.

Admission Scheme for the Second Generation of Chinese Hong Kong Permanent Residents (ASSG)

The ASSG targets foreign nationals born to Hong Kong permanent residents.

It offers a pathway for the second generation to return and settle in Hong Kong, fostering family reunification and cultural connections.

Right of Abode (ROA) for Foreign Domestic Helpers

This category caters to foreign domestic helpers who have served the same employer for a specified period.

It provides an avenue for these individuals to transition from temporary to permanent residency, recognizing their contributions to Hong Kong households and society.

Benefits of Obtaining Permanent Residence in Hong Kong

Gaining permanent residency in Hong Kong comes with an array of privileges and opportunities, providing individuals with a strong foundation for long-term settlement and engagement in the city’s vibrant atmosphere.

Here are the key benefits associated with obtaining permanent residence:

Freedom To Live And Work

Hong Kong, which is known for being a financial center and a melting pot of cultures, provides permanent residents with a number of advantages, including the flexibility to live and work without being constrained by schedules, access to basic services, and the opportunity to sponsor family members.

Access to Public Healthcare And Education Services

Permanent residents have access to Hong Kong’s comprehensive public healthcare system and quality education services, ensuring well-being and educational opportunities for themselves and their families.

Eligibility to Sponsor Family Members

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Permanent residents can sponsor their immediate family members, including spouses and dependent children, for dependent visas.

This reunification aspect is crucial for maintaining family ties and a sense of belonging.

Exemption from General Points Test for Employment

Permanent residents are exempt from the General Points Test, streamlining their ability to secure employment.

This can lead to increased career opportunities and professional growth.

Potential Path to Hong Kong Citizenship

While permanent residency is not equivalent to citizenship, it can serve as a stepping stone towards naturalization as a Hong Kong citizen, opening up further rights and privileges.

Enhanced Business Opportunities and Stability

Permanent residency status can bolster business endeavors, as individuals can invest and engage in economic activities with confidence, knowing they have a stable legal status.

Protection under Hong Kong Law

Permanent residents are afforded the same legal protections as Hong Kong citizens, ensuring equal treatment and access to legal remedies.

Freedom of Movement

Permanent residents can travel freely in and out of Hong Kong, making it convenient for personal and business-related trips.

Participation in Community and Civic Life

Being a permanent resident allows individuals to actively engage in community and civic initiatives, contributing to the social fabric of Hong Kong.

Residency Security

Permanent residency provides individuals with the security of knowing that their right to reside in Hong Kong is firmly established, offering a sense of belonging and stability.

Eligibility Criteria For Permanent Residence In Hong Kong

Continuous ResidenceAt least 7 years of continuous residence in Hong Kong.
Law-abiding BehaviorNo serious criminal record.
Financial StabilityAbility to support oneself financially.
Contribution to the CommunityEvidence of integration and contribution to the local community.

Obtaining permanent residence in Hong Kong involves meeting specific eligibility criteria, tailored to different pathways.

Here’s an overview of the key requirements for each type of permanent residency:

General Employment Policy (GEP)

  • Job Offer: Applicants must have a confirmed job offer from a Hong Kong employer.
  • Relevance: The job offer should align with the applicant’s qualifications and expertise.
  • Work Experience: Relevant work experience in the proposed role is essential.
  • Skill Shortage: The applicant’s skills should fulfill the city’s skill shortage.

Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS)

  • Age: Applicants should be aged 18 to 50.
  • Points: Meeting the minimum points requirement based on factors like education, work experience, language skills, and more.
  • Relevance: The applicant’s qualifications and experience should match the Hong Kong job market’s needs.

Capital Investment Entrant Scheme (CIES)

  • Investment: Making a substantial investment in designated Hong Kong assets.
  • Financial Capacity: Meeting the financial criteria set for the CIES scheme.
  • Contribution: The investment should contribute to the city’s financial development.

Admission Scheme for the Second Generation of Chinese Hong Kong Permanent Residents (ASSG)

  • Parent’s Status: Being born to a Hong Kong permanent resident.
  • Age: Applicants must be aged between 18 and 40.
  • Parent’s Nationality: One parent must be a Chinese national with permanent residency.

Right of Abode (ROA) for Foreign Domestic Helpers

  • Employment Tenure: Having served the same employer for a qualifying period (usually 7 years).
  • Conduct: Demonstrating good conduct and adherence to local laws.

Application Process For Permanent Residence In Hong Kong

The application process for permanent residence in Hong Kong involves several steps, each tailored to the specific pathway chosen.

Here’s a breakdown of the common procedures:

Submission Of Required Documents And Forms

Gather all necessary documents, including identification, educational certificates, employment history, and investment proofs (if applicable).

Complete the required application forms provided by the Hong Kong Immigration Department.

Payment Of Application Fees

Pay the appropriate application fee as specified for the chosen permanent residency scheme. Fees may vary based on the pathway.

Attending an Interview or Providing Biometric Data

Depending on the scheme, applicants may be required to attend an interview to assess their suitability for permanent residency.

Biometric data, such as fingerprints and photographs, may be collected during this stage for identification purposes.

Waiting for Processing and Approval

Once the application is submitted, it undergoes a thorough review by the Hong Kong Immigration Department.

The processing time varies based on the scheme and the volume of applications received.

Renewal And Maintenance Of Permanent Residency

Once granted permanent residency, individuals must adhere to residency obligations, including continuous residence in Hong Kong.

Permanent residency status may be revoked if conditions are not met or if individuals commit criminal offenses.

Consulting Immigration Experts

Due to the complexities of the application process, it’s advisable to consult immigration experts or legal professionals for guidance and assistance.

Documentation and Requirements

The documentation and requirements for obtaining permanent residence in Hong Kong are pivotal aspects of the application process.

Applicants must compile a comprehensive set of documents that substantiate their eligibility and suitability for their chosen permanent residency scheme.

These documents typically include:

  • Identification Documents: Valid passport, visa copies, and proof of legal entry into Hong Kong.
  • Educational Certificates: Academic qualifications and certificates to showcase relevant skills and knowledge.
  • Employment History: Detailed records of past employment, highlighting relevant work experience and contributions.
  • Investment Proofs: For schemes such as the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme (CIES), evidence of substantial investments in designated Hong Kong assets.
  • Financial Records: Bank statements, tax returns, or financial documents showcasing the applicant’s financial stability and capacity.
  • Language Proficiency: Language test certificates demonstrating proficiency in English or Chinese, as required by the chosen scheme.
  • Family Ties: Documentation proving family connections for schemes like the Admission Scheme for the Second Generation of Chinese Hong Kong Permanent Residents (ASSG).
  • Medical Records: Proof of good health and medical examinations, which may be required as part of the application process.
  • Police Clearance Certificate: A clean criminal record or police clearance certificate to verify good conduct.
  • Interview and Biometric Data: If required, attending an interview and providing biometric data such as fingerprints and photographs for identification purposes.

Points-based Test For Skilled Professionals

The Points-based Test is a crucial component of permanent residency application in Hong Kong for skilled professionals.

This assessment evaluates an applicant’s qualifications, skills, and attributes, assigning points based on predetermined criteria such as age, education level, work experience, language proficiency, and other relevant factors.

The cumulative points determine the applicant’s eligibility for permanent residency.

A higher score increases the chances of approval.

This system ensures that individuals who possess exceptional talents, expertise, and contributions aligning with Hong Kong’s economic needs are granted permanent residency.

Investment-Based Scheme For Entrepreneurs

The Investment-Based Scheme for Entrepreneurs is a distinctive pathway to permanent residency in Hong Kong designed to attract high-net-worth individuals who seek to make significant investments in the city’s economy.

This scheme requires applicants to make substantial financial investments in designated Hong Kong assets, contributing to the city’s economic development.

Successful candidates demonstrate their commitment to Hong Kong’s growth by meeting the prescribed financial criteria.

The scheme not only facilitates the inflow of capital but also encourages entrepreneurial endeavors that drive innovation and create job opportunities.

Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS)

The Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS) is a specialized route to permanent residency in Hong Kong that aims to attract skilled professionals and entrepreneurs.

This points-based system assesses applicants based on factors like age, educational qualifications, work experience, language proficiency, and adaptability.

Applicants accrue points in these categories, and those meeting the minimum points threshold are eligible to apply.

The QMAS aims to select individuals with exceptional talents and expertise, contributing to Hong Kong’s economic competitiveness and growth.

Dependant Visa Holders

Dependant Visa Holders in Hong Kong refer to individuals who are eligible to apply for permanent residency based on their relationship with a primary visa holder, such as a spouse or parent.

This category recognizes the importance of family reunification and stability. Dependent visa holders, after residing in Hong Kong for a specific qualifying period, can transition to permanent residency.

The applicant must demonstrate good conduct, meet residency requirements, and fulfill any additional criteria set by the immigration authorities.

Approval And Rejection Factors

When applying for permanent residency in Hong Kong, various factors play a crucial role in determining whether an application will be approved or rejected.

Understanding these factors is essential for prospective applicants.

Here’s a breakdown of the key elements that influence approval and rejection:

Approval Factors

1. Eligibility Criteria: Meeting the specific eligibility requirements of the chosen permanent residency pathway is fundamental to gaining approval.

2. Accurate Documentation: Providing complete and accurate documentation that supports the applicant’s claims and qualifications enhances the credibility of the application.

3. Relevance: Demonstrating how the applicant’s skills, expertise, or investments align with Hong Kong’s economic needs and priorities.

4. Adherence to Guidelines: Following the application guidelines, including deadlines, forms, and requirements, showcases the applicant’s commitment and professionalism.

5. Contribution: Highlighting the positive impact the applicant has made or will make on Hong Kong’s economy, workforce, or community can strengthen the case for approval.

Rejection Factors

1. Inaccurate Information: Providing incorrect or misleading information in the application can lead to rejection.

2. Failure To Meet Criteria: If the applicant falls short of meeting the specific criteria outlined for the chosen permanent residency scheme, the application may be rejected.

3. Lack Of Documentation: Incomplete or insufficient documentation can hinder the application process and result in rejection.

4. Criminal Records: Adverse background checks, criminal records, or other factors indicating misconduct can lead to application rejection.

5. Non-Compliance With Guidelines: Not adhering to the application guidelines, including submitting forms or documents outside the specified format, can lead to rejection.

Renewal And Maintenance Of Permanent Residency

Renewal and maintenance of permanent residency in Hong Kong is a critical aspect for individuals who have been granted this esteemed status.

While permanent residency offers long-term settlement benefits, it comes with certain obligations to uphold.

Permanent residents must ensure continuous residence in Hong Kong, as prolonged absences may jeopardize their residency status.

Additionally, permanent residents should stay updated with any changes in immigration regulations to remain compliant.

Periodic renewal of related documents, such as identity cards, may also be necessary.

Impact Of Permanent Residency On Citizenship

The impact of permanent residency on citizenship in Hong Kong involves a significant relationship between the two statuses.

While permanent residency offers long-term settlement rights and benefits, it is distinct from full citizenship.

Permanent residents are entitled to reside and work indefinitely in Hong Kong, enjoying various privileges such as access to public services and the ability to sponsor family members.

However, permanent residency does not automatically grant citizenship.

Individuals interested in acquiring Hong Kong citizenship must undergo a separate naturalization process, which involves meeting additional criteria, such as residing in Hong Kong for a specified period, demonstrating language proficiency, and exhibiting a commitment to the city’s values and society.


Congrats, you’re now in-the-know about the winding path to permanent residency in Hong Kong. But remember, the journey doesn’t end here. It’s just the beginning of your love affair with this city of skyscrapers and endless possibilities. Safe Sojourn!

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