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Policies and Procedures for hiring foreign workers

Policies and procedures for hiring foreign workers

                Hong Kong government allows foreigners work in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. By specifying employment rules for foreigners Under the provisions of employment Ordinance (Chapter 57) 3 types, including

               1. General Employment Policy (GEP)

                    GEP (General Employment Scheme) is for Non-Hong Kong natives to obtain a work permit and work in Hong Kong legitimately. Employment of educational background or have a high level of expertise (White Collars) without limiting the proportion of foreign workers employment. Employees can change employers. The first employment period is 2 years at a fixed wage rate. The extension of stay will normally follow a 3+3 years pattern. After 7 years of working and staying in Hong Kong, the work permit holders are allowed to apply for Hong Kong permanent residency (PR) and Hong Kong passport. Their spouses and children aged under 18 can apply for a temporary resident permit through family reunification. Applying for work permits, employers can apply for foreign workers employment directly at the Immigration Department (IMMD). For further information please see:

             2. The Supplementary Labour Scheme (SLS)

                The Supplementary Labour Scheme (SLS) commenced operation on 1 February 1996. It is a scheme which allows employers with genuine difficulties in finding suitable staff locally to import workers at technician level or below. Imported workers admitted under this arrangement are NOT allowed to bring in their dependents.  This entry arrangement does NOT apply to nationals of Afghanistan, Albania, Cambodia, Cuba, Laos, Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of), Nepal and Vietnam. There are no industry‐specific quotas under the SLS. However, to ensure the priority of local workers in employment, and to safeguard their salaries and benefits, employers must accord priority to fill available job vacancies with local workers, and take active efforts to train local workers for the vacancies. These workers are normally allowed   to stay for an initial period of 12 months. They are required to return to their places of origin on completion of their employment contracts which are valid for a maximum period of 2 years. All interested employers may apply under the SLS to import workers to fill vacancies which they have genuine difficulties in finding suitable staff locally.

                Employers intending to import workers under the SLS need to apply to the Application Office of the Labour Department for approval-in-principle in the first place by Labour Advisory Board individually. Subject to the grant of approval-in-principle, an employer shall arrange for his/her prospective workers to submit a visa/entry permit application within the period specified in the approval-in-principle letter, which takes about 6 months to complete the process the terms and conditions of employment are comparable to those in the local market. Employment is not more than 2 years. Minimum wage Is defined as a standard. The worker will remain under the direct employment of the employer for a specific job and will not be contracted out to other companies or sub-contractors.

 Visa/entry permit application procedures

               (a) The employer is required to enter into a standard Employment Contract with the imported worker. The Contract term will be for a maximum period as specified  in the approval-in-                              principle letter, the longest being two years. Standard Employment Contract Forms (LD294) for an employee recruited from  outside Hong Kong under the Supplementary Labour                                Scheme may be obtained at the Information Office of the Immigration Department. The contract should be completed in quadruplicate and submitted by the worker together with                                his/her visa/entry permit application.

               (b) The employer shall cause each prospective imported worker to submit a formal visa/entry permit application together with the contracts Visa/entry permit applications should be                                  submitted within the period specified in the approval-in-principle letter. Late applications will not be entertained and the approval-in- principle for importing workers will lapse. If the                       employer still intends to import workers, he/she should submit an application afresh to the Application Office.

               (c) Imported workers should possess valid travel documents . For workers from the Mainland, they should be in possession of valid Exit-entry Permits for Travelling to and from Hong                             Kong and Macau with relevant exit endorsement issued by the Mainland Public Security Bureau Office.

               (d) The entry of all imported workers is subject to the normal immigration requirements being met.

               (e) After entry, the imported worker must remain under the direct employment of the same employer for the specified job and in the specific workplace(s) as stipulated in the standard                             Employment Contract. Change of employer or post is not permitted

                (f) The imported worker is required to return to his/her place of origin on completion of his/her employment contract. If the contract is pre-maturely terminated, the worker is only                                  permitted to remain in Hong Kong for two weeks from the date of termination of contract or the balance of permitted stay, whichever is  shorter. Breach of a condition of stay is an                                offence under the Immigration Ordinance, Chapter 115 of the Laws of Hong Kong.

                 (g) No person who has entered Hong Kong as a visitor may be hired to work here

                 (h) If an imported worker is unable to come to Hong Kong or complete his/her contract, the application for a replacement worker should be made within four months after

                  (i) the date on which the employer is notified that the worker will not come to Hong Kong, or

                  (ii) the date of the termination of the contract (prior to its expiry) of the worker. An employer who has exploited or ill-treated his/her imported workers will not be granted approval to                               bring in replacement workers.

               3. Employment of Domestic Helper from Abroad.

                    Hong Kong government encourages men and women to work outside, coupled with Hong Kong faces elderly society therefore Hong Kong people need domestic helper to look after the elderly. Local labour is not enough for their needs, therefore it is necessary to import foreign domestic helpers by indeterminate quota. Hong Kong Labour Department stipulates conditions/ employer’s qualifications who want to import foreign domestic helpers and strictly implement the process.  The government permits an unlimited amount of foreign domestic helpers, specify the Standard Employment Contract (ID 407), the duration of employment is 2 years, can extend the contract unlimitedly, set minimum wage rates as standard (Minimum Allowable Wage). In addition to wages, the employer is responsible for providing food or pay as compensation, requiring employees reside in the employer’s house.

Visa/entry permit application procedures

                  1. The applicant (the employee) should fill in the application form ID 988A and the employer ID 988B, both application Forms can be download from the website

                      ( http : //

                  2. The employer, the employee and a witness should sign a set of four copies of Standard Employment Contract if the consulate of the helper’s country requires                                                                          notarisation  of the contract the employer or the helper should have it notarised at the consulate.

                  3. The employer, the employee and the consulate will each keep the copy of the contract while the last copy should be submitted to the Immigration Department for application of a visa.                        Apart from the application forms and the Standard Employment Contract the employer is required to prepare all of the documents.  The helper or the employer can refer to this                                    website for the requirement of supporting documents (http: //

                  4. When the application form, Standard Employment Contract and supporting documents are ready, the employee or the employer can send them by post or  submit in                                                        person to Despatch Unit, 2/F, Immigration Tower 7 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong. In general, it will take 4 to 6 weeks to process the  application after  receiving all the                                  required documents if the application is approved, Immigration Department will inform the employer by letter for the  collection of visa, The visa fee should be paid either in cash, by                          cheque or by EPS, upon collection of the visa.