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Guide to Understanding Hong Kong’s Quality Migrant Admission Scheme

10 minute read


The Hong Kong Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS) is a quota-based scheme designed to attract potential immigrants who are considering to work in Hong Kong.

Based on their skills, qualifications and other relevant factors, foreigners can migrate to the region and harness the many opportunities of Hong Kong if they are able to meet the various conditions set by the scheme.

Keep on reading to learn more about the QMAS in Hong Kong.


What is the Hong Kong Quality Migrant Admission Scheme?

The Hong Kong Quality Migrant Admission Scheme is a quota-based entrant scheme released in 2006.

It welcomes dependant visa applicants that are skilled people and entrepreneurs that have a desire to live and work in Hong Kong. The government is looking to provide entrepreneurial and innovation opportunities to foreign thinkers that will also help them launch their businesses and careers in Hong Kong.

It is necessary for applicants to meet the Hong Kong QMAS requirements before even becoming eligible to apply. Once that is covered, an applicant needs to pass a points based test.

They can choose to either be assessed under the General Points Test or Achievement-based Points Test. To pass the General Points Test, one has to have at least 90 points out of a maximum of 225.

Those who select the Achievement based Points Test have to ensure that they have an incredible and rich profile since this test is an all-or-nothing test.

Successful applicants under this scheme may bring their partner and unmarried dependent children under the age of 18 to Hong Kong seeing that they are capable of supporting and accommodating these individuals on their own financial resources without having to rely on public assistance in Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong QMAS is not available for individuals coming from Afghanistan, Cambodia, Cuba, Laos, North Korea, Nepal, and Vietnam.

What are the benefits of Hong Kong’s QMAS?

The number one benefit of this scheme is that an applicant does not have to possess an official employment offer from Hong Kong prior to their arrival in Hong Kong. This is a huge benefit since not many workers can secure an offer that is usually a prerequisite for various visa schemes.

The second most important benefit is the fact that the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme allows individuals covered by it to bring over their loved ones. Dependants visa is easily attainable if an applicant successfully finishes the QMAS process.

On top of that, dependant visa holders are free to work or study in Hong Kong once they arrive, meaning that the sponsor doesn’t have to deal with extra paperwork or additional fees.

Finally, the QMAS visa can be renewed. After 7 years, the applicant and dependents can apply for the right of abode in Hong Kong.

What are the statistics and average success rates under QMAS?

Don’t get discouraged if you see figures that don’t seem too promising. There will always be a portion of applicants that simply don’t meet any of the requirements.
It’s important to know that in 2019, the vast majority of applicants succeeded. Let’s go through the exact numbers for 2019 and 2020.

QMAS visa results: 2019 vs 2020

Keep in mind that up to 1,000 applicants per year (annual quota) may be admitted into Hong Kong under the QMAS.
In 2019, the Hong Kong immigration authorities approved a grand total of 874 applications.
More than half of these applicants come from the following industries:

  • Finances
  • Accounting
  • Information Technology
  • Telecommunications

In 2020, the Immigration Department approved 1,709 applicants. The vast majority of them took the General Points Test. The majority of these applicants came from the same industries as in 2019, as well as from education.

Profile of successful applicants

Those looking to apply and get admitted need to know what characterizes a successful candidate.

To have the highest chances of success, one should be aware of the fact that the immigration authorities always look for persons with exceptional talent or skill with outstanding achievements and good work experience.

These individuals usually receive 225 points, and these are usually Nobel prize winners, Olympic medalists, or important people in their industries with proven records of success.

For instance, Jo, 35 (+30 points), a Chinese national, is married (+5) with one child, aged 1 (+5). He has a Masters’ Degree from Tsinghua University (+20), and he has been working as a Senior Software Engineer (+30) for 5 years (+15). He is fluent in both Cantonese and English (+20). He wishes to work and live in HK with his accompanying family members. Under the General Points test, Jo would have earned 125 points.

On the other hand, hypothetically, Rafael Nadal, aged 35, a Spanish citizen, wants to move to Hong Kong. As an Olympic medalist (tennis), he would be awarded all 225 points under the Achievements-based Points Test.

Hopefully, you are now aware of the concept between the two methods of further assessment and what you need to bring to the table in order to succeed.

Who is eligible to apply?

Every ambitious person is eligible to apply except for passport holders and overseas permanent residence holders from the following countries:

  • Afghanistan
  • Cuba
  • Laos
  • Korea
  • Nepal
  • Vietnam

The Hong Kong QMAS visa is available to all other foreigners if they meet the requirements and conditions that follow below.

Prerequisites that have to be met

An applicant has to be at least 18 years of age. They also have to prove that they are capable of accommodating and supporting themselves and their dependants on their own without having to turn to Hong Kong public assistance services.

Moreover, an applicant also has to be of good character. This means not having a criminal record, adverse immigration record, or other records detrimental to them.
On top of that, an applicant has to be fluent in both written and spoken Chinese (Putonghua or Cantonese) or English.


An applicant has to have a decent educational background or at least a basic educational qualification. Usually, it is recommended that an applicant has at least an undergraduate degree from a renowned university or a tertiary educational institution.

But in special situations, when they have no such degree, documentary evidence of achievements, relevant professional abilities, good technical qualifications, and experience shall be considered and seen in a positive light.

Point-based test

Let’s take a more in-depth look into the two test types applicants can choose from and see what these tests are based on.
This will help you determine what type suits your preferences the best.

General-points test

Applicants who take point-based tests should know that this test calculates a score based on their age, family background, language proficiency, work experience, and university degree.

At the moment, an applicant must obtain a minimum passing mark of 80 points. However, from time to time, the minimum passing mark can be subject to change. Keep in mind that the maximum number of points an applicant can score is 165.

This test is the most commonly used method by the applicants. However, there are those who have exceptional achievements, and they opt for the achievement-based points test.

Achievement-points test

The achievement-based points test was designed for those who are truly unique and special. The individuals that opt for this test usually have amazing achievements and exceptional talents or skills.

Think twice if you decide to take this test. Requirements under this test are extremely high and applicants are assessed only on the achievements they already have under their belts.

To come out on top and receive the necessary pass of 165 points, applicants have to meet one of the following requirements:

  • The applicant has already received an award for exceptional achievement. These awards usually include an Olympic Medal, a Nobel Prize, or other similar national and international awards;
  • The applicant’s work has been acknowledged by their peers and the general community and it has made a considerable contribution to the development of their field of expertise (for instance, they have received a lifetime achievement award from a specific industry for their achievements).

Required documents

Take a look at the required supporting documents that you need to prepare before you apply:

  • Completed application form (English or Chinese version).
  • Copy of the personal details page of your passport. If you are in Hong Kong, at the moment, it is necessary to provide a copy of your passport page that has the latest arrival stamp of stay label in the region.
  • Copy of your People’s Republic of China ID card (if you are a Chinese national).
  • Filled-in Dependants Visa application form supported by other documents for each of the dependant family members you plan on bringing to Hong Kong.
  • Copy of proof of personal net worth and financial resources. This could be a bank certificate, bank statement, valuation report with your real estate’s current market value, statement showing the current market value of investments, latest audited financial statements of a business, your percentage of shareholding in a business, creditor’s statement displaying the amount of outstanding personal debt, and so on.
  • Copy of a language proficiency certificate in Chinese or English. This can also be a copy of the results page of a recognized language proficiency test (TOEFL or IELTS). This is valid for Chinese, too (PSC or HSK).
  • Copy of your academic degree or other qualifications such as graduation certificates, transcripts of academic qualifications and results, and so on.
  • Proof of professional qualifications, training, membership certificates, and so on.
  • Proof of relevant work experiences such as employment reference letter, employment contract, official company registration documents pointing to your position in the company, or a client reference letter.
  • Copy of proof of major career accomplishments and future plans in Hong Kong that will help you take the next step but also contribute to the business environment of Hong Kong.

All of the listed documentary evidence is to be submitted in Chinese or English or translated into Chinese or English by a certified translation authority. The Immigration Department reserves the right to demand further documents when needed.

Application procedure, time, and fee

The first step an applicant has to make is completing and gathering the required documents. These documents are then submitted to the Hong Kong Immigration Department. The Department notifies applicants once they receive the applications, which usually takes one week.
The selection process follows once the application has been submitted. The application gets ranked against others, and the Hong Kong Immigration Department’s decision is hugely impacted by the field of an applicant’s expertise. This means that an applicant has better chances if Hong Kong is in need of their specific skills.

Within 15 working days of the selection result, the HKID publishes the official scores online. The outcome of each selection exercise, including quota allocation and allotment, gets published on the Immigration Department website.

Successful candidates receive an invitation to Hong Kong within 3 months from the release of results. When an applicant successfully secures a quota, they receive an approval-in-principle letter that allows them to travel to Hong Kong to attend an in-person interview.

Finally, once all of the procedures are finalized, the last step is to prove that the documents are genuine and verified. Once that is completed, an applicant receives the Hong Kong QMAS visa. This usually happens within 1 week of verification of original documents.

Keep in mind that the whole process can take 8 to 12 months, but there is no fee that is charged for the submission of documents. However, HK$260 is charged for a grant of visa or entry permit.

Wrap up

Applying to Hong Kong’s Quality Migrant Admission Scheme is definitely a great idea. Not only will you be able to make your dreams in the world of business a reality, but you will also get to enter Hong Kong’s vibrant and diverse environment, become a resident, and fulfill your socio economic needs in this thriving region.

Ready to kickstart your business and looking to incorporate a company in Hong Kong? For more information, do not hesitate to contact Sleek. Our friendly team is ready to help with your business needs.

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