Hong Kong: Country and Foreign Investment
Entry and Residence
All nationals require visas to enter Hong Kong (with the exception of British nationals who are allowed visa free entry for a period of 6 months).
In October, 2007, Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang announced new plans designed to ensure that Hong Kong's position as a leading global finance hub is consolidated and strengthened. He observed that China's rapid development and the opening up of its financial sector have presented unprecedented opportunities for Hong Kong's financial-services sector.
Tsang added that with these large-scale development projects, Hong Kong will need to expand its pool of skilled workers, and will "require talented people from everywhere". Consequently, to help attract more qualified people, the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme's requirements will be relaxed and widely promoted. in 2008, 28,000 foreigners came to work in Hong Kong and settled in the jurisdiction, including about 5,500 from the Mainland.
In January 2008, changes were announced to the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS) in order to cast a wider net for quality migrants. The changes included: lifting the upper age limit of 50; adjusting the marking scheme under the 'General Points Test' so that younger degree holders have a better chance of meeting the minimum passing mark for further assessment; giving marks to applicants with two to five years working experience; and giving extra marks to those who are proficient in a foreign language in addition to Chinese (Putonghua or Cantonese) or English. The extension of stay requirement for entrants admitted through the Achievement-based Points Test (APT) was also streamlined. The Immigration Department will grant an extension to an APT entrant and his/her dependants if it is satisfied that he/she has the financial means to sustain their living in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong also runs the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme, which facilitates the entry for residence persons who make capital investment in Hong Kong but would not be engaged in the running of any business in the SAR. The entrant is allowed to make his choice of investments amongst permissible assets without the need to establish or join in a business. The scheme is available to all foreign nationals (excpet nationals of Afghanistan, Albania, Cuba and Democratic People's Republic of Korea), Macao Special Administrative Region (Macao SAR) residents, Chinese nationals who have obtained permanent resident status in a foreign country, stateless persons who have obtained permanent resident status in a foreign country with proven re-entry facilities, and Taiwan residents.
During the Chief Executive’s 2010-11 Policy Address it was announced that the investment, net asset and net equity entry requirements for admission to Hong Kong under the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme have been increased.
After a review of the scheme, during which the government took into account overseas practices, changes in economic indicators, and the views of the public and Legislative Council members, the requirement is raised to HKD10m (US$1.3m) from HKD6.5m. In addition, real estate is suspended temporarily as a class of permissible investment assets under the Scheme.
Following the amendments, it was said that the Scheme remains competitive compared with similar overseas programmes. The investment threshold, net assets and net equity requirement will be reviewed every three years. The arrangement of the temporary suspension of real estate as a class will also be assessed at the next regular review, or earlier as necessary.
The amendments will not affect applications received before the commencement date, whether already approved or still being processed. Since the Scheme’s introduction, 8,200 investors with 15,500 dependants have been admitted to Hong Kong, bringing in HKD58bn in investment.