First introduced into Hong Kong in 2006, the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme allows people across the globe to get access to this country to work and live. As the prime purpose of the scheme is to engage talented individuals, your application would be favorably considered if you can demonstrate convincingly your qualification.
1. What is the Hong Kong Quality Migrant Admission Scheme?
Quality Migrant Admission Scheme – as the name speaks for itself, is to grant admissions to adequate foreigners who intend to settle in Hong Kong for certain purposes. To put it straightforwardly, this scheme is introduced to attract proficient professionals that are uppermost in terms of certain merits. All that to source from other countries the supply of expertise that yet to be available within Hong Kong
Because Quality Migrant Admission Scheme is based wholly on quota, candidates would be shortlisted to a preset, finite number (which is normally limited to 1000 each year). What makes it a subject of controversy is the presumably high degree of bias in the selection process.
On the whole, though the applicant, without a doubt, is appraised on the basis of his/her qualifications, what appears to be the outcome is at the complete discretion of the assessors. In this same manner, the candidate who applies for the scheme would not be offered a satisfactory account for whatever is the end result.
If you believe this scheme is the best-fitted, then you’d better get to grips with how the selection exercise plays out.
First off, you need to meet a set of several criteria which are referred to as “prerequisites”. Let's, for now, assume that you pass this phase, you would then need to choose between General Points Test and Achievement-based points test. Both of these 2 selection exercises are different in that they are scored on different benchmarks: one is based on the candidate's several general factors such as age, academic and professional qualifications, and so forth, whereas one is based on his/her achievements. It is of utmost importance to study which test would suit you. And because the element of uncertainty is embedded in the overall process, there would be no way of knowing for sure that you could secure an allotment of quota, even if in self-analysis, you are a superior candidate.
People who intend to apply should also be well-noted that this scheme is only meant for citizens of jurisdictions other than Afghanistan, Cuba, Laos, Korea, Nepal, and Vietnam.
2. What are the prerequisites for the scheme?
In order to proceed to take the points-based tests, you first need to fulfill the following eligibility criteria:
- Age: You must be at least 18 years old when you apply for the scheme
- Financial requirement: you must manage to financially support yourself, as well as your dependants without resorting to the aid of the government.
- Good character: you must have not committed any crime, offense, or wrongdoings of the sort at the time you register.
- Language proficiency: you must have a decent command of either English or Chinese (Putonghua or Cantonese)
- Basic educational qualification: you must have a competent education background (which can be proved a graduate degree from a reputable institution) and/or you must boast expertise in a relevant field (which can be proved by showcasing your past experience and achievements).
If you have all of the above qualifications, you are eligible to take either one of the 2 point-based tests.
3. How to pass the point-based tests?
In order to know which test is for you, you should first get a clear idea of them 2.
Picking the General Points Tests, the candidates would be assessed on 6 factors. Each of them is distinct in their nature and varies slightly in the degree to which points are allocated. These factors are:
- Age with a maximum of 30 points
- Academic/Professional Qualifications (70 points at max)
- Work Experience (55 points at max)
- Talent List (30 points at max)
- Language Proficiency (20 points at max)
- Family Background (20 points at max)
Doing quick math, the sum of them is a maximum of 165. And a typical minimum passing mark of 80 is required if you wish to pass this selection exercise.
A far cry from that, the achievement-based points test is tailored specifically for certain individuals who have achieved significant feats or made notable contributions in a given field. In specific, you either:
- Have earned an award that is considered as prestigious, namely, Olympic medals, Nobel prize, national/international awards; or
- Have produced works that are acclaimed by your peers or that made advances toward the field you work in.
4. What are the documents required of the applicants?
What follows is a checklist of documents that you need to present to demonstrate your qualifications, and do note that you must prepare them in English or Chinese:
- A duly-filled application form (either the English or Chinese version)
- A copy of the personal particulars page found in your passport. You also need to present a copy of your passport page showing the latest arrival stamp or extension of stay given that you are physically present in Hong Kong at the time you apply.
- A copy of documents demonstrating your financial net worth such as your bank certificate, passbook, the current market value of real estate, latest audited financial statements, statements detailing the attributes of the current market value of investment items, or statements specifying your outstanding debts.
- A copy of your language certificate to demonstrate your language proficiency, which could be IELTS or TOEFL for English; or PSC or HSK for Chinese.
- A copy of each document or credential reinforcing your academic and/or professional qualification or personal achievement, namely, graduate degrees, reference letter, employment contract, and so forth.
In all likelihood, you would be required to submit further supporting documents based on the information you provided in the application form or at the discretion of the Immigration Authorities.
5. How does the application process play out?
You can submit the application directly by post or in-person by getting down to the Hong Kong Immigration Department.
Once you have prepared all of the required documents, you might as well have it submitted. You can do so directly by post, or in-person by getting down to the Hong Kong Immigration Department. One week following the application, you should expect a notification from the Immigration Department, which is to inform you that your application has been received.
According to this authority, they would perform the selection exercise for quota allocation to allocate quotas to candidates on a regular basis. The mechanism of this exercise is rather simple. Your application would be ranked against those of the other candidates on the basis of the scores that you have accumulated from the points-based test that you have chosen to be assessed under.
As long as you manage to achieve high ranks, you would be considered one of the chosen few qualified for further assessment. Once passing this phase, the immigration department would put the socio-economic needs of Hong Kong, the sectoral mix of candidates and other factors onto the table to consider. By all accounts, if your field of expertise is not readily accessible in Hong Kong, chances are you would be allotted this hard-earned quota.
The outcome of each selection exercise, including the quota allotment, would be published on the website of the Immigration Department. Due to a large number of applications each year, processing them would take a while. It is advisable to re-visit the site time and again to stay up to date.
In the event that you successfully secure a quota, you would receive an Approval-in-Principle Letter notifying you of this news. This letter acts as a license allowing you to travel into Hong Kong to attend a face-to-face interview and to submit the originals of documents as required. Once all of the procedures are completed, the last hurdle you need to jump over is to prove that these documents are genuine and verified. Then you would be given the formal visa/entry permit under this Scheme.
6. Renewing the Quality Migrant Visa
Once you get hold of the permit through the assessment under General Points Test, it would stay valid for up to 2 years and can be renewed for a 3-year extension when you can show proofs that you have settled in Hong Kong and made contribution to the country by joining gainful employment or starting a new business here. If you have been permitted to stay in Hong Kong for no less than 2 years and your last year’s assessable income for salaries tax purpose equals or exceeds HK$2mil, you would be considered for an extension of stay for up to 6 years.
When admitted through Achievement-based points test, you would be granted an initial stay of up to 8 years. Should you fulfill a period of stay for at least 7 consecutive years, you would be able to apply for permanent resident status in Hong Kong.
You should manage to file the renewal application with the Immigration Department at least 4 weeks before the visa expires.
7. Applying for Dependant Visa
Having this visa in place, you are allowed to bring along your family members to Hong Kong by applying for the Dependant Visa. That being said, only certain dependants are eligible for this scheme, and they are your spouse and unmarried dependent children who are under 18 years old. You can file the application for each of them on their behalf.
In addition, because the dependants’ visas are tied to that of yours and so do the length of their stays, they could stay in Singapore as long as your visa still remains valid. Under the Immigration Department, the dependants can join schools and seek jobs as a normal Hong Kong citizen.
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