Hong Kong lets in more non-local talent for short-term activities

Two new sectors included in pilot scheme, adding 50 host organisations

Hong Kong lets in more non-local talent for short-term activities

Two new sectors have been added to Hong Kong's pilot scheme aimed at non-local talents.

The Hong Kong government said it is including the financial as well as the development and construction sectors to its expanded Pilot Scheme on Immigration Facilitation for Visitors Participating in Short-term Activities in Designated Sectors.

This will add about 50 authorised host organisations that can invite non-local talents, allowing them to enter the financial hub without obtaining an employment visa or other entry permits from the Immigration Department.

With the addition of the two new sectors, the expanded pilot scheme now has around 400 authorised host organisations under the following sectors:

  • Medical and healthcare
  • Higher education
  • Arts and culture
  • Sports
  • Heritage
  • Creative industries
  • Innovation and technology
  • The Hong Kong Laureate Forum
  • Aviation
  • International/mega events
  • Finance
  • Development and Construction

The expansion of the scheme came after a review from the government at the end of 2022, where it found that 800 non-local talents benefited from the scheme. It also came as the financial hub reported a 3.5% unemployment rate between October and December 2022, according to data from the Census and Statistics Department.

"After expansion, the Pilot Scheme will cover more international events and mega activities, such as the Asian Financial Forum and international horse racing events," the government said in a media release.

Rules for visitors

The government first launched the pilot scheme in June 2022 to allow non-local talents to fill in areas of shortages or if their presence is "conducive to economic development or achieving relevant policy objectives."

These non-local talents are permitted to participate in their respective short-term activities for up to 14 days upon arrival. They will also receive remuneration for the activities they take part of.

"There is no cap on the number of designated short-term activities the eligible visitors may participate in during that 14-day period," the Immigration Department said.

These visitors, however, are not permitted to take paid or unpaid employment in Hong Kong, to establish or join a business, or become a student at an educational institution.

"Any person who contravenes a condition of stay in force in respect of him shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a maximum fine of HK$50,000 and to imprisonment for two years," the Immigration Department said on its website.

The plan was launched as Hong Kong reopens its borders to international citizens following closures because of the pandemic. It also comes as the financial hub seeks to regain its international profile after it was rocked with massive protests in 2019.

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