Recently, Hong Kong’s newly-launched “High-end Talent Pass Scheme” has been on the hot list due to the large number of applicants in a short period of time. Talent introduced through the program can be granted a two-year visa and can apply for a permanent ID card after seven years of residency in Hong Kong.
This program is aimed at highly educated and paid talents. Three categories of people can apply : Category A is for those with annual income of HK$2.5 million or more in the year prior to application; Category B is for those who graduated from a global top 100 university with an undergraduate degree and have accumulated at least three years of work experience in the past five years; Category C is for those who graduated from a global top 100 university with an undergraduate degree within five years prior to application, but have less than three years of work experience.
There is no limit to the number of applicants in categories A and B who can be granted a two-year permit to develop in Hong Kong, while category C has a cap of 10,000 applicants per year.
From the perspective of the top 100 universities in the world, there are nine universities in the Mainland that meet this condition, namely Tsinghua University, Peking University, Fudan University, Zhejiang University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, University of Science and Technology of China, Sun Yat-sen University, Nanjing University, and Huazhong University of Science and Technology.
Compared to the previous Hong Kong High-end Talent Introduction Scheme, this scheme is relatively lenient. In terms of application requirements, applicants do not need to be employed by a Hong Kong company before applying.
Under this program, the applicant can stay in Hong Kong for 24 months after the application is approved, without any additional conditions. They are also free to engage and change jobs during their stay without prior approval from the Immigration Department.
This scheme is widely popular. According to Hong Kong, after the official launch of the scheme at the end of 2022, more than 7,400 applications were received in just one month, and the number of applicants has exceeded 10,000 after seven weeks of implementation, while the success rate of approval is as high as 95%.
The majority of applicants are young, with applicants under 30 years of age accounting for about half of all applications. Half of all applicants are graduates of top 100 universities in the world and have at least 3 years of work experience in the past 5 years; one sixth of the applicants have an annual income of over HK$2.5 million.