Frequently Asked Questions

1. Introduction

1.1 What is the Technology Talent Admission Scheme (TechTAS)?
1.2 What are the merits of TechTAS?

2. Eligibility

2.1 Which technology companies/institutes are eligible to make quota application under TechTAS?
2.2 Who may apply for employment visa/entry permit using the quota allotted under TechTAS?

3. Local Talent Employment Requirement

3.1 What is the local talent employment requirement under TechTAS?
3.2 Will the applicant company/institute need to report its progress in fulfilling the local talent employment requirement?
3.3 What will happen if the local talent employment requirement is not fulfilled?

4. Quota Application and Usage

4.1 How to apply for a quota under TechTAS?
4.2 How many people may be admitted under TechTAS? What is the quota application period?
4.3 For how many non-local persons may an applicant company/institute seek to admit under TechTAS quota?
4.4 Once a quota is allotted, when could the overseas/Mainland technology talent be sponsored to apply for an employment visa/entry permit to work in Hong Kong?
4.5 How will a quota application be processed?
4.6 What are the quota assessment criteria?
4.7 At the quota application stage, the applicant company/institute would need to demonstrate genuine difficulties in recruiting the required technology talent locally. Would it need to make a recruitment advertisement for a certain period to satisfy this requirement?
4.8 What would happen if a company/institute is unable to use up the quota allotted to it?
4.9 Will the approval of a quota application under TechTAS entail an automatic approval of an individual’s employment visa/entry permit application by the Immigration Department?

5. Relationship with the Internship Programme and “Postdoctoral Hub” Programme

5.1 TechTAS has a local employment requirement – i.e. for every three non-local persons approved to be admitted under TechTAS, the applicant company/institute would need to employ one new local full-time employee, plus two local interns. Can the applicant company/institute apply for funding under the “Internship Programme” of the Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF) for hiring “local interns”?
5.2 Can the non-local persons admitted under TechTAS benefit from the “Postdoctoral Hub” programme?

6. Comparison with Other Admission Schemes

6.1 How is the visa/entry permit application under TechTAS streamlined as compared with the procedures under the General Employment Policy (GEP) and Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals (ASMTP)?
6.2 Will a company/institute allotted with a quota under TechTAS still be able to sponsor non-local technology talent to work in Hong Kong under the General Employment Policy (GEP) and Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals (ASMTP)?
6.3 How should a company/institute choose between TechTAS, General Employment Policy (GEP) and the Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals (ASMTP)?

7. Employment Visa/Entry Permit Applications

7.1 What is the condition and pattern of stay for an admitted talent under TechTAS?
7.2 Can a talent admitted under TechTAS change employer in Hong Kong?
7.3 If a talent admitted under TechTAS resigns, can the company apply to admit another talent under the original quota as replacement?

8. Entry of Dependants

8.1 Will a person admitted under TechTAS be able to come along with his/her dependants?

9. Right of Abode

9.1 Will a person admitted under TechTAS be eligible to apply for the right of abode?

 

1. Introduction


1.1 What is the Technology Talent Admission Scheme (TechTAS)?

TechTAS is a three-year pilot scheme which provides a fast-track arrangement for eligible technology companies/institutes to admit overseas and Mainland technology talent to undertake R&D work for them. Eligible technology companies/institutes would first have to apply for a quota. A company/institute allotted with a quota can accordingly sponsor eligible persons to apply for an employment visa/entry permit within the quota validity period. It also has to fulfill the requirement to employ new local employees.

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1.2 What are the merits of TechTAS?

To the technology companies/institutes and technology talent -

By allotting applicant technology companies/institutes with a quota to admit technology talent with specific requirements, TechTAS will provide certainty for them to proceed with their recruitment and business plan.

While TechTAS would require the applicant technology companies/institutes to demonstrate at the quota application stage that the technology talent sought is short in supply or not readily available in Hong Kong, by doing away with the requirement to demonstrate local recruitment failure each and every time they seek to bring in talent, the actual admission procedure will be streamlined and thus be considerably shorter.

Once the applicant technology company/institute has identified a suitable candidate fitting the requirements in the allotted quota, it would take a shorter period of time for the individual to obtain the visa/entry permit – the Immigration Department envisages that the normal processing time for visa/entry permit applications could be shortened to two weeks, upon receipt of all the required documents.

To the technology sector

The local employment requirement would provide more local job opportunities and help nurture our local talent.

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2. Eligibility


2.1 Which technology companies/institutes are eligible to make quota application under TechTAS?

To apply for a quota under TechTAS, the applying technology company/institute must be –

(a) a tenant/incubatee/grantee/occupant of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTPC) (including Hong Kong Science Park, InnoCentre, or the industrial estates managed by HKSTPC) or Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited (Cyberport); and
(b) engaged in the area of biotechnology, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, robotics, data analytics, financial technologies or material science.
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2.2 Who may apply for employment visa/entry permit using the quota allotted under TechTAS?

The non-local technology talent admitted under TechTAS must be-

(a) employed as full-time employees in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region by the applicant company/institute;
(b) engaged principally in conducting R&D in the areas of biotechnology, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, robotics, data analytics, financial technologies or material science;
(c) degree-holders in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) from a well-recognised university (this refers to the top 100 universities in the latest publications of STEM-related ranking tables of QS, Times Higher Education and Academic Ranking of World Universities (Shanghai Jiao Tong University) (also known as Shanghai Ranking). Work experience is not compulsory for those with a Master’s or Doctoral degree, whereas those with a Bachelor’s degree only should possess a minimum of one year of work experience in the relevant technology area; and
(d) offered remuneration not lower than the prevailing market level for comparable jobs in Hong Kong.

Technology talent not meeting the academic requirements in (c) above but possess good technical skills in specialty areas, proven professional abilities and/or relevant experience and achievements supported by documentary evidence can be considered on a case-by-case basis with full justifications.

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3. Local Talent Employment Requirement


3.1 What is the local talent employment requirement under TechTAS?

When making a quota application, the applicant company/institute has to undertake to employ a certain number of new local employees – i.e. for every three non-local persons approved to be admitted for employment by Immigration Department under TechTAS, the applicant company/institute would need to employ one new local full-time employee (with an employment contract for at least one year), plus two local interns (for a duration of at least three months). Companies/institutes are welcome to employ more local full-time employees in lieu of local interns. The full-time employees should possess at least a bachelor’s degree while the interns can be undergraduates, graduates or post-graduates.

All these local employees should be engaged in technology-related work. Besides R&D, technology-related work includes positions such as technology or intellectual property lawyer, technology transfer expert, etc., but will not include general supporting positions such as administration clerk.

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3.2 Will the applicant company/institute need to report its progress in fulfilling the local talent employment requirement?

Yes. Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTPC)/Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited (Cyberport) will, during the fourth month of the quota validity period, collect information from successful applicant company/institute on the use of quota and employment of local talent for onward passage to the Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC).

A successful applicant company/institute is required to submit to HKSTPC/Cyberport proof of local persons employed (e.g. appointment letter) as soon as it has fulfilled the local talent employment requirement and has used up all the quota(s) allotted, and in any case, no later than four months after the expiry of the quota validity period. HKSTPC/Cyberport will pass such information to ITC.

Employment of local persons with contracts signed within three months before quota application and three months after the quota expiry date would count towards satisfying the local talent employment requirement.

Timeline for Procedural Steps of Technology Talent Admission Scheme

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3.3 What will happen if the local talent employment requirement is not fulfilled?

On the recommendation of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation/Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited, the Innovation and Technology Commission will decide whether an “adverse record” will be attached to the company/institute if, without reasonable justification, it has not well utilised the quota allotted, or it has not employed sufficient number of local persons. An adverse record may lead to the following consequences -

(a) any new quota application from the company/institute will not be processed until it has complied with the local talent employment requirement;
(b) any unused quota allotted to the company/institute would be suspended until it has complied with the local talent employment requirement;
(c) the credibility of the company/institute in making any new quota application will be affected.
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4. Quota Application and Usage


4.1 How to apply for a quota under TechTAS?

Tenants/incubatees/grantees/occupants of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTPC) (including Hong Kong Science Park, InnoCentre, or the industrial estates managed by HKSTPC) should submit their completed quota application forms to the Innovation and Technology Commission via HKSTPC.

Tenants/incubatees/occupants of Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited (Cyberport) should submit their completed quota application forms to the Innovation and Technology Commission via Cyberport.

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4.2 How many people may be admitted under TechTAS? What is the quota application period?

In its first year of operation, TechTAS will admit a maximum of 1 000 persons from overseas/Mainland.

The quota application will be open throughout the year, so long as there is quota not yet allotted.

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4.3 For how many non-local persons may an applicant company/institute seek to admit under TechTAS quota?

Each applicant technology company/institute may be allotted with a quota to admit not more than 100 persons per year.

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4.4 Once a quota is allotted, when could the overseas/Mainland technology talent be sponsored to apply for an employment visa/entry permit to work in Hong Kong?

Each quota will be valid for 6 months. Within such quota validity period, the applicant company/institute may make applications with the Immigration Department to sponsor eligible non-local persons fitting the specification set out in the quota allotment letter to apply for an employment visa/entry permit to work in Hong Kong.

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4.5 How will a quota application be processed?

The Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTPC)/ Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited (Cyberport), upon receipt of the quota applications, will process and assess the applications, and make recommendations to the Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC). ITC will then consider the applications and HKSTPC/Cyberport’s recommendations. ITC may approve the quota request in full or in part, or reject it altogether, notwithstanding the recommendations of HKSTPC/Cyberport.

During the processing of quota application, HKSTPC/Cyberport or ITC may request the applicant company/institute to submit additional information to justify its case.

Applicant companies/institutes will be informed of the application result in writing.

If a quota application is approved, ITC will issue a quota allotment letter to the applicant company/institute. It will state the number of quotas of non-local persons to be admitted and relevant particulars being approved, including the technology area(s) involved, main job duties, academic qualifications/expertise required and remuneration packages pertaining to the non-local technology talent sought under the quota, and any other terms and conditions of the approved quota. Within the allotted quota, the company/institute would have the flexibility to admit the exact number of non-local persons for the different job duties set out in the quota allotment letter to suit its needs.

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4.6 What are the quota assessment criteria?

Each eligible quota application will be assessed on its own merits having regard to the following considerations -

(a) The applicant company/institute’s technology activities must align with the knowledge or skillsets of the required technology talent;
(b) The quota requested is justified for the applicant company/institute (e.g. in terms of business volume, venue, and expansion plans);
(c) The applicant company/institute has demonstrated genuine difficulties in recruiting local talent in the technology areas concerned;
(d) The academic qualifications or other expertise as well as the remuneration packages of the required non-local technology talent are suitable; and
(e) Any past adverse records of the applicant company/institute under TechTAS (e.g. have not used up the quota allotted, have not employed the requisite number of local employees, etc.).
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4.7 At the quota application stage, the applicant company/institute would need to demonstrate genuine difficulties in recruiting the required technology talent locally. Would it need to make a recruitment advertisement for a certain period to satisfy this requirement?

We expect the applicant company/institute to describe why the local workforce does not possess sufficient talent for the skill/experience required (e.g. a certain area is new to Hong Kong companies and/or local universities have not yet trained sufficient number of graduates in a certain niche area). Alternatively, the applicant company/institute may choose to put up recruitment advertisement – this would be one of the means to demonstrate the shortage but not the necessary means.

The Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation/Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited will consider if each case is justified and make recommendation to the Innovation and Technology Commission.

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4.8 What would happen if a company/institute is unable to use up the quota allotted to it?

A company/institute which has changed its recruitment plans and will not use up the quota allotted should inform the Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC) via the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTPC)/Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited (Cyberport), and relinquish unused quota the earliest possible to facilitate re-allocation of quota.

On the recommendation of the HKSTPC/Cyberport, ITC will decide whether an “adverse record” will be attached to the company/institute if, without reasonable justification, it has not well utilised the quota allotted, or it has not employed sufficient number of local persons. An adverse record may lead to the following consequences -

(a) any new quota application from the company/institute will not be processed until it has complied with the local talent employment requirement;
(b) any unused quota allotted to the company/institute would be suspended until it has complied with the local talent employment requirement;
(c) the credibility of the company/institute in making any new quota application will be affected.
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4.9 Will the approval of a quota application under TechTAS entail an automatic approval of an individual’s employment visa/entry permit application by the Immigration Department?

No. The Immigration Department will consider each visa/entry permit application based on its individual merits, having regard to, among other things, whether the applicant meets the normal immigration requirements. In addition, the applicant talent’s main job duties, academic qualification, technical skills, work experience, and remuneration package, etc. should fully meet the requirements under the specific quota allotted.

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5. Relationship with the Internship Programme and “Postdoctoral Hub” Programme


5.1 TechTAS has a local employment requirement – i.e. for every three non-local persons approved to be admitted under TechTAS, the applicant company/institute would need to employ one new local full-time employee, plus two local interns. Can the applicant company/institute apply for funding under the “Internship Programme” of the Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF) for hiring “local interns”?

Yes. Any eligible technology companies/institutes, including companies which are required to hire local interns under the TechTAS, may apply for funding under the Internship Programme.

The Internship Programme provides funding support to ITF recipients as well as innovation and technology tenants of Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation/Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited to recruit up to two local graduates as interns for R&D work. The ITF will provide a monthly allowance for each intern with a Bachelor’s degree or a Master’s or higher degree at $16,000 or $19,000 respectively for up to 24 months.

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5.2 Can the non-local persons admitted under TechTAS benefit from the “Postdoctoral Hub” programme?

Yes. Any non-local technology talent who are eligible under the “Postdoctoral Hub” programme, including those admitted under the TechTAS, can benefit from the Postdoctoral Hub Programme.

The Postdoctoral Hub Programme provides funding support to Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF) recipients as well as incubatees and innovation and technology tenants of Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation/Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited to recruit up to two postdoctoral talent for R&D work. The ITF will provide a monthly allowance of $32,000 for each postdoctoral researcher for up to 24 months. The concerned researcher must possess a doctoral degree in a STEM-related discipline from either a local university or a well-recognised non-local institution.

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6. Comparison with Other Admission Schemes


6.1 How is the visa/entry permit application under TechTAS streamlined as compared with the procedures under the General Employment Policy (GEP) and Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals (ASMTP)?

Compared to GEP and ASMTP, there is no need for the employing company/institute under TechTAS to make submission to justify the difficulty in local recruitment efforts every time it submits a visa application. The company just has to demonstrate such requirement once during quota application stage. However, in applying for an employment visa/entry permit under TechTAS, the applicant is still required to submit supporting documents such as copy of his/her valid travel document, proof of academic qualification and work experiences, etc.

Since the company’s eligibility has been examined during the quota application stage, the normal processing time for visa/entry permit applications under TechTAS can therefore be shortened to two weeks, upon receipt of all the required documents. (Under the GEP and ASMTP, it normally takes four weeks to process a visa/entry permit application upon receipt of all the required documents.)

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6.2 Will a company/institute allotted with a quota under TechTAS still be able to sponsor non-local technology talent to work in Hong Kong under the General Employment Policy (GEP) and Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals (ASMTP)?

Yes. Please also refer to 6.3.

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6.3 How should a company/institute choose between TechTAS, General Employment Policy (GEP) and the Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals (ASMTP)?

It is up to the company/institute to decide under which admission scheme a certain employee should be admitted from overseas/Mainland.

Unlike TechTAS, GEP and ASMTP are quota-free and non-sector specific. On the other hand, TechTAS is technology-specific and subject to a different set of eligibility criteria in particular requiring technology talent to have certain technological knowledge and skills (see 2.1 – 2.2 on eligibility).

Given the differences between the schemes, a company/institute may consider whether its target employees to be admitted from the overseas/Mainland meet the eligibility criteria under TechTAS. If so, it should also consider whether it is capable to fulfill the local employment requirement under TechTAS. If a company/institute considers that its answer to either or both of these questions is negative, it should not make an application under TechTAS.

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7. Employment Visa/Entry Permit Applications


7.1 What is the condition and pattern of stay for an admitted talent under TechTAS?

Talent admitted under TechTAS will normally be granted an initial stay of 24 months on employment condition, or in accordance with the duration of the employment contract (whichever is shorter), upon entry. They may apply for extension of stay in Hong Kong within four weeks before expiry of their limit of stay and extension of stay, if approved, will normally follow the 3-3 years’ pattern, also on employment condition, or be in accordance with the duration of the employment contract (whichever is shorter).

For talent who have been permitted to take up employment under TechTAS for not less than two years and have an assessable income for salaries tax of not less than HK$2 million in the previous year of tax assessment, they may be granted, upon application, an extension of stay for a period of six years on time limitation only without other conditions of stay.

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7.2 Can a talent admitted under TechTAS change employer in Hong Kong?

Talent admitted under TechTAS who are on employment condition shall only take such employment as approved by the Director of Immigration. They should seek prior approval from the Director of Immigration for any change in employment.

If the new employing company/institute has a valid quota under TechTAS, the talent may submit a visa/entry permit application under TechTAS to the Immigration Department. In case the new employing company/institute does not have a valid quota under TechTAS, a new application should be submitted and assessed according to the parameters governing General Employment Policy or the Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals.

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7.3 If a talent admitted under TechTAS resigns, can the company apply to admit another talent under the original quota as replacement?

The quota is used whenever an employment visa/entry permit application pertaining to the quota has been approved by the Immigration Department, even if the person granted the visa/entry permit resigns shortly or does not come to work in Hong Kong eventually.

The company may apply to admit another non-local talent using another quota. It may also submit a new application for employment visa/entry permit under General Employment Policy and the Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals.

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8. Entry of Dependants


8.1 Will a person admitted under TechTAS be able to come along with his/her dependants?

Persons admitted under the TechTAS may apply to bring in their spouse and unmarried dependent children under the age of 18 to Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) under the prevailing dependant policy.

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9. Right of Abode


9.1 Will a person admitted under TechTAS be eligible to apply for the right of abode?

Persons admitted under TechTAS who have ordinarily resided in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) for a continuous period of not less than seven years may apply for the right of abode in the HKSAR in accordance with the law.

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