• Hong Kong: Expedited Intra-Company Work Permits for Financial Institutions Moving Employees from Japan
  • March 21, 2011
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • A special intra-company transfer work permit will allow financial institutions to transfer to Hong Kong workers affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the Hong Kong Immigration Department (HKID) has announced. The expedited work permit is available immediately, will have a validity of up to 12 months, and will require less documentation and have a much shorter processing time than the standard employment visa. Fragomen worked closely with HKID in the development of the new permit.


    The expedited work permit program is available to banks, asset management companies, investment advisors and other financial institutions registered in Hong Kong.

    Individuals can qualify for the permit if they hold executive, managerial, professional or specialist positions in the sponsoring financial institution, including those who will engage in the following regulated activities in Hong Kong: dealing in securities or futures contracts; advising on securities, futures contracts, or corporate finance; leveraged foreign exchange trading; providing automated trading services; securities margin financing; and asset management. Applicants must have worked in a Japanese office of the sponsoring company before transferring directly to Hong Kong.

    Note that in addition to obtaining the expedited work permit, individuals may need to obtain the relevant regulatory license from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission before they can start to engage in regulated activities in Hong Kong.

    Currently, companies other than financial institutions can apply for the expedited work permit but their applications will be assessed by the HKID on a case-to-case basis. Fragomen will continue to monitor whether the Hong Kong government will extend this new work permit program to other types of companies and employees and will release updates as needed.

    Process and Requirements

    Companies and their sponsored employees must state clearly in their applications that the purpose of the application is to temporarily relocate an existing employee from Japan to Hong Kong. Unlike employment visas, which require considerable documentation, applicants for the expedited work permit will only need to submit the following:

    • Form ID990A for the principal applicant and any accompanying dependents, with one passport-size photo attached for each applicant;
    • Form ID990B for the sponsoring company;
    • A copy of the applicant’s passport or other travel document bearing his or her photo and personal particulars; and
    • A supporting letter from the sponsoring company entitled “Special Applications for Financial Institutions” and specifying the urgent relocation of staff from Japan to Hong Kong, the work locations of the applicant in Hong Kong and Japan, and the requested validity period (up to 12 months).

    Applications are expected to be approved within two business days. The HKID encourages companies to submit their applications in batches to help ensure faster processing. Foreign nationals who are visa-exempt for business trips may enter Hong Kong without a visa and apply for the expedited work permit in-country.

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