Hong Kong expands working visitor scheme

Hong Kong expands working visitor scheme

Hong Kong’s Pilot Scheme on Immigration Facilitation for Visitors Participating in Short-term Activities (Pilot Scheme for STV) has been expanded to cover two additional new sectors and about 50 additional authorised host organisations.

The government announced that, from 1 February 2023, more overseas individuals with specific skills can participate in specified short-term activities as visitors without needing to apply for employment visas or entry permits.

In addition to 10 existing designated sectors, two new sectors are now included – namely “finance” and “development and construction” – along with 50 more authorised host organisations.

More international events and mega activities, including the Asian Financial Forum and international horse racing events, are also included.

Launched in June 2022, the Pilot Scheme for STV aims to facilitate entry for visitors who have been invited or sponsored by an authorised host organisation to participate in specified short-term activities in Hong Kong.

These invitees can participate in such activities, including paid activities, for up to 14 consecutive calendar days upon arrival, without needing to apply for employment visas or entry permits from the Hong Kong Immigration Department.

With this expansion, the Pilot Scheme for STV now embraces a total of 12 sectors with about 400 authorised host organisations. The sectors include: Medical and healthcare; higher education; arts and culture; sports; heritage; creative industries; innovative technology; Hong Kong Laureate Forum; aviation; international or mega events; and the newly-added sectors finance, and development and construction.

The Pilot Scheme for STV is applicable to all relevant overseas invitees with specific skills, or whose participation in specified short-term activities would be conducive to Hong Kong’s economic growth.

Eligible overseas invitees include both those requiring an entry visa or entry permit to visit Hong Kong, and those who can visit visa-free. Eligible individuals are required to be endorsed by authorised host organisations by way of invitation letters, and must strictly adhere to the scope of short-term activities and their roles as specified in invitation letters.

Considering that it normally takes four to six weeks to process a typical employment visa or entry permit application, the increased coverage of the Pilot Scheme for STV will continue to enhance efficiency and convenience for authorised host organisations and overseas invitees.

It will also promote and develop relevant sectors and support major international events to raise Hong Kong’s profile as an international city.