Eligibility Criteria for the Hong Kong Working Holiday Visa Scheme

This programme first came into play in April 2001 and is meant to aid cultural and education exchanges between HK and those nations who take part on a bi-lateral basis.

Participants in the Hong Kong Working Holiday Scheme are not permitted to engage in permanent employment and should not work for the same employer for more than six months (for participants from the Republic of Korea) or three months (for participants from Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Japan and New Zealand) during their visit in the HKSAR.

Participants from Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand may also enrol in study or training course(s) during their time under the programme.

The Scheme permits younger people (between 18 and 30) to make an application for a Working Holiday Visa for Hong Kong which enables them to remain in the HKSAR for a maximum vacation period of one year. During their stay, the Working Holiday Visa holder can take up short term work for a period of less than 3 months with any one employer and can study for a fixed duration.

The tradition of the Scheme works to permit a lengthened vacation type experience of working, living and also, the chance of studying in HK for an unqualified maximum period of one year but the Scheme shouldn’t be viewed as an alternative choice to a work visa.

Extensions outside the twelve months aren’t available and an applicant may only receive one Working Holiday Visa during the life of the Scheme.

The overall objective of the Scheme is to offer a valuable opportunity for younger people to broaden their horizons and the programme is subject to a maximum quota of visas to be issued each year.

Australia (annual quota = 5000)

Canada (annual quota = 200)

Germany (annual quota = 150)

Ireland (annual quota = 100)

Japan (annual quota = 250)

South Korea (annual quota = 200)

New Zealand (annual quota = 400)

Applications are selected on a first-come-first-served basis. Processing of applications takes about 3 weeks.

Conditions for successful application include:

* You must hold a valid national passport issued by the participating country and be ordinarily residing in that participating country.

* Your primary intention is to holiday in Hong Kong.

* You must be aged between 18 and 30.

* You must be able to show financial proof of having enough funds to maintain yourself during the stay in Hong Kong. (e.g. bank statement, saving accounts passbooks, and the like).

* You must have a return air ticket or financial proof of having sufficient funds to purchase one home.

* You must hold medical and comprehensive hospitalisation and liability insurance to cover your time in the HKSAR.

* The process is by way of direct application in Hong Kong via a local representative or direct to the HKID via mail.

* Applications can also be submitted via the network of Chinese diplomatic and consular missions in the participating countries.

A graduate of the London School of Economics, Stephen started his first dedicated Hong Kong immigration practice, LL.B Consultancy, in Kowloon in 1993 straight out of law school. In 1996, Stephen wrote, then published, the first edition of the Hong Kong Visa Handbook ( http://www.hongkongvisahandbook.com ) on the internet – which has gone to be the leading D-I-Y guide to the Hong Kong visa and immigration process.

Stephen is an acknowledged expert in all matters relating to Hong Kong immigration and for many years has delivered CPD programmes to the legal and accounting community of the HKSAR. Frequently invited to speak on the topic of Hong Kong visas, Stephen is widely sought after for commentary from the Hong Kong press, to deliver talks to business and HR organisations and appears regularly on Government owned RTHK Radio 3 answering visa and immigration questions live on air.

You can reach Stephen via http://www.hongkongvisacentre.com