Quality Migrant Admission Scheme
Traditional Chinese優秀人才入境計劃
Simplified Chinese优秀人才入境计划

The Quality Migrant Admission Scheme ("QMAS") is a points-based immigration system in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.[1][2] It was first announced in February 2006, and began accepting applications in June of the same year; by September 2023, more than 20000 people had been admitted to residence in Hong Kong under the scheme.[3][4]

QMAS aims to attract highly skilled overseas-born individuals to settle in Hong Kong for enhancing the economic competitiveness of Hong Kong globally.[5] Those successful are not required to have a valid job offer before entering into Hong Kong for settlement. All applicants under the QMAS have to fulfil a set number of requirements before they are awarded points under either of the 2 points-based tests – that is, either the Achievement-based Points Test or General Points Test.

Before 2023, this used to be a quota-based scheme, and those successful with had to compete against the other QMAS applicants for quota allocation.

Nationals of certain countries – Cuba, Afghanistan and Korea [Democratic People's Republic of] – are not eligible for the QMAS of Hong Kong. (The limitation on citizens from Vietnam, Laos and Nepal has been lifted)

According to Lai Tung-kwok, the application process can take half a year.[6]

History

General points test[7][8]
Age
Points Years old
Old New
0 30 18-24
25 30 25-29
30 30 30-34
25 30 35-39
15 20 40-44
5 15 45-50
N/A 0 51+
Education
Points Degrees
Old New
45 40 Two doctorates
40 40 One doctorate or two master's
30 20 One master's or two bachelor's
20 10 One bachelor's
N/A 30 (Additional) Degree from a renowned institution recognized internationally
Working experience in a job requiring a bachelor's degree or professional qualification
Points Years
Old New Total Managerial
50 40 10 >5
40 30 5 >2
30 15 5 0-2
0 5 2 0-2
Languages spoken and written fluently
Points Languages
Old New
20 20 Both Chinese and English
0 15 One of Chinese or English, plus an additional language
0 10 One of Chinese or English
Spoken fluency in Chinese may be demonstrated using either Cantonese or Mandarin
Add points for each qualifying item
Points Description
Old New
5 5 Per unmarried child under the age of 18, up to 10 points
5 5 Accompanied by a spouse holding at least a bachelor's degree
5 5 Direct family member is a Hong Kong permanent resident

Creation

With the aim of attracting talented people from mainland China and the rest of the world to settle and work in Hong Kong, the QMAS set up admissions criteria under which applicants could be admitted to residence in Hong Kong without the prior offer of local employment required for a normal working visa. The scheme was first announced in February 2006.[9] It began accepting applications on 28 June of that year, with a quota of 1,000 applicants. The scheme included two methods of assessment: a general points test, under which applicants would be awarded points based on their education, age, working experience, language abilities, and family background, and an achievement-based test for people such as Olympic medalists, Nobel laureates, or scientists and professionals with significant recognition in their field.[10] The minimum passing mark under the general points test is 80 points.[11]

Six people applied in the first week; however, the government waited until November 2006 to issue the first visa under the scheme, to pianist Lang Lang.[12][13] In 2007, 582 people applied under the scheme, of whom 322 (55.3%) were admitted, 42 through the achievement-based points test and 280 through the general points test.[14][15] 188 came from mainland China.[16]

Relaxation of criteria

As early as November 2007, the government floated the idea of loosening the criteria for admission under the QMAS, due to the underwhelming response.[1] Details of the amendments were announced in January 2008; the age limit for applicants was raised from 50 to 55, points would be awarded for as little as two years of working experience as opposed to five before the amendment, and applicants could receive points for abilities in languages other than Chinese or English.[2][14]

Following the amendment, the number of applicants under the scheme increased slightly; however, the passing rate dropped, according to government sources, with only 60% of short-listed applications approved as of February 2008, compared to 71% before the revision.[17] By the end of May that year, the number of people admitted under the scheme drew near to 500; however, this still formed only a minute proportion of the roughly 210,000 non-local professionals working in Hong Kong.[18] For 2008, 1,317 people applied for admission under the scheme, an increase of 130% over the 2007 figure.[15]

In total, from June 2006 to August 2013, 9,932 people applied to settle in Hong Kong under QMAS, among whom 2,553 (26%) were accepted. The acceptance rate fell sharply from a peak of 41% in 2008 to 15% in 2012, which was the highest year to date for the number of applications received. Of the successful applicants, 1,997 (78%) were from mainland China, 291 (11%) were from other parts of the Asia-Pacific region, 163 (6.4%) were from North America, 94 (3.7%) were from Europe, and 8 (0.3%) were from South America or Africa.[19]

In November 2020, the quota per year was increased from 1,000 to 2,000.[20] In November 2021, the quota was further increased from 2,000 to 4,000 per year.[21] In October 2022, John Lee removed the limit of 4,000 for a period of 2 years.[22]

In October 2023, the government said it would now allow people from Vietnam, Laos and Nepal to apply for the visa.[23]

Statistics

In May 2020, statistics from the 2019 year were provided by the immigration department.[24] In 2019, a total of 874 people were approved under the scheme. Of the 874,

In 2022, 2,845 people were approved under the program, and from the first to the third halves of 2023, 12479 people were approved, with 98.5% coming from mainland China.[25][4]

Requirements

  1. Age: Applicants must be aged 18 years and up
  2. Financial Requirement: Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they are capable of supporting and accommodating themselves and their dependents, if any, on their own without relying on public assistance during their stay in Hong Kong;
  3. Good Character: Applicants must meet normal immigration and security requirements. They should not have any criminal or adverse immigration record in Hong Kong or elsewhere;
  4. Language Proficiency: Applicants must be proficient in Chinese (Mandarin or Cantonese) or English;
  5. Basic Educational Qualification: Applicants must have a good education background, normally a first degree supported by documentary evidence. In special circumstances, good technical qualifications, proven professional abilities and/or experience and achievements supported by documentary evidence may be considered.
  6. Nationality: Nationals of Afghanistan, Cuba, and North Korea may not apply under QMAS.[26]

Advisory committee

The twenty-member Advisory Committee on Admission of Quality Migrants and Professionals advises the Director of Immigration on applications received under QMAS. As of 2012, the membership of the Committee comprises:[27]

Notable examples

References

  1. ^ a b c d "HK to relax restrictions on immigration scheme", Eastday, 10 November 2007, retrieved 16 January 2008
  2. ^ a b "Achievement-based Points Test", Quality Migrant Admission Scheme, Immigration Department, Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, 14 February 2007, archived from the original on 11 January 2008, retrieved 17 January 2008
  3. ^ "優才計劃|外地來港專才人數持續增加 兩大熱門行業佔近半". 香港01 (in Chinese (Hong Kong)). 26 March 2022.
  4. ^ a b "Visas". www.immd.gov.hk. Immigration Department.
  5. ^ 1
  6. ^ "Can Hong Kong win the talent race with Singapore? Cut red tape, experts say". South China Morning Post. 8 October 2022. Retrieved 9 October 2022.
  7. ^ "General Points Test", Quality Migrant Admission Scheme, Immigration Department, Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, 25 April 2008, archived from the original on 27 January 2007, retrieved 22 January 2009
  8. ^ "General Points Test", Quality Migrant Admission Scheme, Immigration Department, Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, 1 August 2006, archived from the original on 27 January 2007, retrieved 22 January 2009
  9. ^ "Quality migrant scheme ready by June", News.gov.hk, 23 February 2006, archived from the original on 5 March 2008, retrieved 16 January 2008
  10. ^ "Quality migrant scheme applications open", News.gov.hk, 28 June 2006, retrieved 16 January 2008
  11. ^ "Prevailing Minimum Passing Mark", Quality Migrant Admission Scheme, Immigration Department, Government of the Hong Kong Special Administration, 25 April 2008, retrieved 22 January 2009
  12. ^ a b "鋼琴家郎朗成為香港優秀人才入境計劃第一人 (Pianist Lang Lang becomes first person in Quality Migrant Admission Scheme)", Xinhua News, 28 November 2006, archived from the original on 14 December 2006, retrieved 17 January 2008
  13. ^ "Hong Kong: City losing expat appeal", Taipei Times, 7 July 2006, retrieved 17 January 2008
  14. ^ a b ""优才计划":找到最适合香港的人才 (The Quality Migrant Admission Scheme: Finding talented individuals who best suit Hong Kong)", Xinhua News, 16 January 2008, archived from the original on 20 March 2008, retrieved 16 January 2008
  15. ^ a b c "周迅領身分證正式成港人 (Zhou Xun obtains Hong Kong Identity Card, officially becomes a Hong Kong person)", Sina News, 8 February 2009, retrieved 12 February 2009
  16. ^ "香港財經界成了海歸精英大舞臺 (Hong Kong finance industry becomes a big stage for elite returnees)", Hong Kong Economic Weekly, 19 December 2007, retrieved 17 January 2008
  17. ^ "Migrant vetting scheme remains stringent", News.gov.hk, 23 February 2008, retrieved 23 January 2008
  18. ^ ""优秀人才入境计划"已吸引近500专业人士 (Quality Migrant Admission Scheme has already attracted nearly 500 professionals)", Xinhua News, 30 May 2008, archived from the original on 2 June 2008, retrieved 23 January 2009
  19. ^ Lai, Tung-kwok (9 October 2013), "LCQ12: Immigration policy", Info.gov.hk, retrieved 9 October 2013; the statistics on the total number of applicants are in Annex 8, while the breakdown by region is in Annex 9.
  20. ^ "Government increases annual quota of Quality Migrant Admission Scheme". Hong Kong Government. 26 November 2020.
  21. ^ "Human resources body meets". Hong Kong's Information Services Department (in Chinese (Hong Kong)). Retrieved 30 March 2022.
  22. ^ "Talented non-locals who stay in Hong Kong will get refund of hefty property tax". South China Morning Post. 19 October 2022. Retrieved 19 October 2022.
  23. ^ "Hong Kong to expand talent schemes to include Vietnam, Laos and Nepal". South China Morning Post. 25 October 2023. Retrieved 25 October 2023.
  24. ^ "Quality Migrant Admission Scheme | Immigration Department". www.immd.gov.hk. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  25. ^ Chan, Irene. "Hong Kong issues 100,000 work visas in first 9 months of the year - Hong Kong Free Press HKFP". hongkongfp.com. Retrieved 20 October 2023.
  26. ^ "Scope of the Scheme", Quality Migrant Admission Scheme, Immigration Department, Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, 24 April 2008, archived from the original on 17 March 2012, retrieved 14 March 2012
  27. ^ "Appointments to Advisory Committee on Admission of Quality Migrants and Professionals". info.gov.hk. 30 June 2010. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  28. ^ "Hu wants to become a Hong Konger", The Standard, Hong Kong, 12 March 2008, retrieved 21 March 2008
  29. ^ "深港音乐界携手 圣诞音乐会情定门德尔松 (Shenzhen, Hong Kong musicians join hands to sing Mendelssohn)", Shenzhen News, 3 December 2007, retrieved 17 January 2008
  30. ^ "李雲迪:成為香港居民感到榮幸 (Li Yundi: I feel honoured to become a Hong Kong resident)", Wen Wei Po, 15 January 2007, retrieved 17 January 2008
  31. ^ "Li Ning tops up tally for SAR", The Standard, Hong Kong, 15 August 2008, archived from the original on 22 May 2011, retrieved 22 January 2009
  32. ^ "因曾獲金馬獎湯唯通過"優才計劃"成為香港人 (Due to receiving the Golden Horse award, Tang Wei became a resident of Hong Kong under QMAS)", Xinhua News, 24 August 2008, archived from the original on 24 August 2008, retrieved 25 November 2008
  33. ^ "Report: Zhang Ziyi now Hong Kong resident", Xinhua News, 24 September 2007, archived from the original on 24 December 2008, retrieved 1 February 2009