Hong Kong is a diverse, leading metropolis offering a unique blend of Eastern and Western traditions. It is one of the world’s most business-friendly cities and has a world-class infrastructure. Hong Kong enjoys an open economy with a free market and low taxation. It is an important international finance and trade center.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) offers several residence programs for talented individuals seeking residence in this Asian metropolis.Enquiry Factsheet
Applicants must complete a points-based test under the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme
Eligible to apply for permanent residence after seven years
In September 2003, the Immigration Department of the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of the People's Republic of China introduced the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme. Prior to the introduction of the scheme, individuals seeking residence in return for investment in the HKSAR had to rely on a subset of the employment visa, known as the Employment Visa Based upon Investment in Hong Kong (the business investment visa). Although its Capital Investment Entrant Scheme was suspended in 2015, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) offers several other residence programs.
The Capital Investment Entrant Scheme was officially suspended on 15 January 2015. However, there are other alternatives for individuals who wish to apply for Hong Kong residence. These are:
The General Employment Policy (GEP) sets out the entry requirement for persons who wish to enter or stay in the HKSAR for employment as professionals. Applicants who possess special skills, knowledge, or experience of value not readily available in Hong Kong may apply to work under the GEP if the following criteria are met:
In order to obtain any of the above visas, the applicant must submit all the relevant application forms and supporting documents. Upon the Immigration Department’s receipt of all the required documents, it normally takes four to eight months to process the visa or entry permit applications.
Approval of applications is entirely discretionary and is subject to changes in government policies. The director of immigration reserves absolute discretion to refuse any application, even if all criteria for eligibility are met. Successful applicants will normally be granted a limited extended stay of 24 months (only without other conditions of stay upon entry). Applicants may apply to extend their stay in the HKSAR before their limit of stay expires. Such applications will only be considered if the applicants continue to meet the eligibility criteria under entry for investment, the QMAS, or the General Employment Policy.
Taxation in Hong Kong is based on a territorial source principle. Hong Kong companies only pay tax on profits sourced in Hong Kong, and the rate of taxation currently is 17.5% on assessable profits. There are no withholding taxes on dividends or interest and no taxes on capital gains. However, withholding tax on royalties does apply, currently at 5.25%, and is only imposed on royalties paid to non-resident recipients not related to the payers. If they are related parties, then a tax rate of 16.5% is applicable.
Hong Kong companies are ideal vehicles for international trading or consulting activities that do not have links in Hong Kong. These businesses can therefore be conducted free of tax. The same is true for companies that hold real estate that is located outside Hong Kong. There is no capital gains tax, and dividends received or distributed by a Hong Kong company are also tax-free. Even the standard rate of profits tax applicable to Hong-Kong-sourced income is very competitive, at 16.5%.
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