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What you need to know about Hong Kong’s top talent scheme

Future Of Work
CXC Global8 min read
CXC GlobalJune 17, 2024
CXC Global

Introduction to Hong Kong’s Top Talent Scheme

In late 2022, Hong Kong launched the Top Talent Pass Scheme (TTPS) to revitalise its economy and maintain its status as a global financial hub. The TTPS is a significant step in Hong Kong’s post-pandemic recovery strategy, signalling the city’s commitment to remain competitive globally.

Overview of the Top Talent Pass Scheme (TTPS)

Announced in the 2022 Policy Address by Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, the TTPS was officially launched in December. The scheme is a streamlined visa program that expedites the entry of high-income earners and graduates from top global universities. 

By granting a two-year visa without the requirement of prior employment in Hong Kong, the scheme aims to entice skilled individuals to consider the city as a viable destination for their careers. This is an important response to the talent drain experienced during the pandemic and subsequent social changes.

Significance for global talent

If you’re a skilled professional, the TTPS can be your gateway to a thriving career in Hong Kong. 

The scheme welcomes global talent with a streamlined visa process and attractive benefits. Hong Kong aims to secure its future as a leading innovation and economic hub by attracting individuals who can contribute to its diverse workforce.

If you’re considering relocating, the TTPS could be the perfect opportunity to advance your career while experiencing the unique blend of Eastern and Western cultures that Hong Kong offers.

Key features of the Global Talent Visa under the TTPS

The Global Talent Visa, offered under the TTPS, is designed to attract and retain global talent. Let’s explore what makes this visa so attractive.

Eligibility criteria

To qualify for the Global Talent Visa under the TTPS, applicants must meet specific criteria related to their professional experience, academic qualifications, and income levels.

Professional experience and academic qualifications

The TTPS targets individuals with a proven track record of success in their respective fields. 

Applicants must have at least three years of work experience in a relevant profession and a bachelor’s degree or higher from a recognised institution.

Income thresholds

The scheme sets specific income criteria to ensure applicants are among their field’s top earners. To be eligible, individuals must have earned an annual income of at least HK$2.5 million (or approximately US$320,000) in the year before their application.

University graduates

The TTPS offers special provisions for individuals who have graduated from one of the world’s top 100 universities within the past five years. If you’re one of these graduates, you may be eligible for the visa even if you do not meet the full work experience or income requirements.

Application process

The application process for the Global Talent Visa under the TTPS is designed to be straightforward and user-friendly, encouraging eligible individuals to take the leap and apply.

Steps to apply

  1. Create an online account and complete the application: Register for an account on the Hong Kong Immigration Department’s dedicated platform and fill out the application form accurately and completely.
  2. Pay the application fee: Submit the non-refundable application fee of HKD$230 online through the provided payment channels (credit card, PPS, or FPS).
  1. Await the result: Your application will typically be processed within four weeks. You will receive an email notification regarding the outcome. If requested, you may need to submit additional documents during this time.
  1. Visa collection (if applicable): If your application is approved, you will receive an e-Visa. Mainland Chinese residents who have applied through the online platform should also apply for an exit-entry permit from the relevant mainland authorities to travel to and from Hong Kong and Macao (EEP). Upon arrival in Hong Kong, you must present your e-visa (either saved on your mobile device or printed) and scan the QR code on the e-visa.

Required documentation

  • Recent photo
  • Copy of your valid travel document (e.g., passport)
  • Copy of your Hong Kong Identity Card (if applicable)
  • Supporting documents for your bachelor’s degree from an eligible university (if applicable)
  • Documentary proof of work experience, such as employment contracts, reference letters, or tax documents (if applicable)
  • Documentary proof of your annual income, including tax returns or payslips (if applicable)
  • Copy of the valid travel document for each dependent
  • Supporting documents to prove your relationship with each dependent (e.g., marriage certificate, birth certificate)
  • Copy of the Hong Kong Identity Card of each dependent (if applicable)
  • Letter of consent from the applicant’s current employer or relevant Mainland authorities (if applicable)

Benefits of the Global Talent Visa

The Global Talent Visa isn’t just a pass to live in Hong Kong; it opens doors to a world of career opportunities and professional growth.

Work opportunities

One of the most significant advantages of the Global Talent Visa is the freedom to work in various industries without needing a prior job offer. Hong Kong’s diverse economy offers opportunities in finance, technology, trade, logistics, and creative industries. Whether you’re an experienced professional or a recent graduate, the city’s vibrant job market caters to a variety of skill sets and interests.

Networking and growth

Hong Kong is a global hub for business and innovation, making it an ideal place to expand your professional network and learn from industry leaders. 

The city hosts numerous conferences, workshops, and networking events where you can connect with like-minded individuals and build valuable relationships. Moreover, the TTPS aims to attract top talent, creating a community of high achievers who can inspire and support your career growth.

Broader impact and challenges of the TTPS

The Top Talent Pass Scheme, while a key development in Hong Kong’s talent acquisition strategy, has sparked both excitement and debate. We must consider the scheme’s broader context and challenges to assess its potential as Hong Kong vies for top global talent.

Comparison with other regional schemes

Hong Kong isn’t alone in its quest to attract global talent. Others in Asia have launched similar initiatives to bolster their economies and stay competitive. Let’s compare the TTPS with some of these programs to see how it stacks up.

Singapore’s ONE Pass

Singapore’s Overseas Networks & Expertise (ONE) Pass is a similar initiative to attract top global talent. The TTPS and ONE Pass offer streamlined visa processes and cater to high earners and exceptional individuals in specific fields. However, there are key differences in eligibility criteria and benefits. 

The ONE Pass focuses on a wider range of sectors and offers a longer visa validity period (5 years) than the TTPS (2 years). Additionally, the ONE Pass requires a higher minimum monthly salary of S$30,000 (around HK$176,000) compared to the TTPS’ annual income requirement of HK$2.5 million.

Thailand’s Long-Term Resident Visa

Thailand’s Long-Term Resident (LTR) Visa is another program that attracts skilled professionals, investors, and wealthy retirees. While the LTR Visa and TTPS aim to boost their respective economies, their target demographics differ. The LTR Visa emphasises attracting wealthy individuals and investors, whereas the TTPS focuses primarily on highly skilled professionals. 

The LTR Visa offers a longer validity period (10 years) and various benefits, such as tax incentives and property ownership rights, that are not available under the TTPS. However, the TTPS may be more appealing to younger professionals seeking career opportunities in a global financial hub like Hong Kong.

Diversity and demographics

While the TTPS aims to attract top talent worldwide, the program’s initial results have revealed a notable trend: most applicants are from Mainland China

Dominance of Mainland Chinese applicants

Statistics show over 90% of approved applicants hail from the Mainland. While this influx of talent contributes to Hong Kong’s economic growth, it raises concerns about maintaining workforce diversity. A lack of diversity can hinder innovation and limit the city’s ability to attract a wider range of global talent.

Attracting international talent

Hong Kong remains committed to attracting diverse talent from around the globe. However, challenges remain, including the city’s high cost of living, perceived political uncertainties, and competition from other global hubs like Singapore and Thailand. To address these challenges, the government has implemented several strategies to entice international professionals, such as:

  • Highlighting the city’s robust economy, world-class infrastructure, and vibrant cultural scene.
  • Making it easier for international professionals to apply for and obtain visas.
  • Providing financial incentives and other benefits to attract and retain top talent.

To attract more international talent, the government may expand the TTPS to include graduates from additional reputable universities while improving Hong Kong’s living and working conditions to appeal to overseas professionals.

Economic and social impact

The Top Talent Pass Scheme is designed to bring far-reaching benefits to Hong Kong, not only in terms of economic growth but also in shaping the city’s social fabric and long-term development. Let’s see how.

Boost the local economy

The influx of highly skilled professionals through the TTPS is expected to inject new energy and expertise into Hong Kong’s economy. These individuals will likely contribute to innovation, productivity, and economic growth. 

By attracting top talent, Hong Kong aims to enhance its competitiveness in various sectors and maintain its status as a leading global financial centre. Additionally, the increased spending power of these professionals can stimulate local businesses and create job opportunities for residents.

Long-term residency and integration

The TTPS is not just about short-term stays. It also offers a pathway to long-term residency and eventual permanent residency in Hong Kong. This encourages top talent to put down roots in the city, integrate into the local community, and contribute to its social and cultural development. 

The scheme’s focus on attracting individuals with families further emphasises its commitment to fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment for all.

Final thoughts on Hong Kong’s Global Talent Visa

As we’ve explored, the Top Talent Pass Scheme is a significant initiative to bolster Hong Kong’s workforce and attract top global talent. Let’s recap the key points and consider the scheme’s potential impact on the city’s future.

Summary of key points

The TTPS offers a streamlined pathway for high earners and top graduates to live and work in Hong Kong. The scheme’s benefits include a two-year visa without needing prior employment, a straightforward application process, and the ability to bring family members along. While most applicants have been from Mainland China, the government is actively working to attract a more diverse range of talent from around the world.

Future prospects

The TTPS is expected to positively impact Hong Kong’s economy by attracting skilled professionals who can contribute to innovation and growth. As more top talent settles in Hong Kong, the city will likely see increased economic activity, job creation, and a more vibrant and diverse workforce. However, the scheme’s long-term success will depend on the government’s ability to address challenges such as the high cost of living and competition from other global hubs.

Advice for potential applicants

The TTPS could be a valuable opportunity if you’re a skilled professional considering relocating to Hong Kong. Before applying, carefully assess your eligibility and prepare all the necessary documents. Research the job market and explore networking opportunities to maximise your chances of success. Be aware of your challenges, such as the high cost of living, and consider how these factors align with your personal and professional goals.

If you need help navigating the TTPS application process, understanding the Hong Kong job market, or finding the right career opportunities in the city, contact us at CXC Global. We have the expertise and resources to help you transition smoothly to Hong Kong and achieve your career aspirations.

Reach out to us today to get started.


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