Relaxation of application criteria for Quality Migrant Admission Scheme

The Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS) launched by the Hong Kong SAR Government in June 2006 aims to attract highly skilled or talented persons to settle in Hong Kong. It is a quota-based admission scheme with an annual quota of 1,000. The entry qualification is assessed through five rounds of selection. According to statistics released from the Immigration Department of Hong Kong, QMAS approved a total of 411 applications in 2017; in 2018, QMAS approved a total of 555 applications.


Due to the strict approval process, thousands of applications for QMAS are submitted to the Immigration Department each year, but the number of applicants approved each year is less than one tenth, which is far below the annual quota of 1,000. Many interested applicants are therefore discouraged by QMAS, and the scheme may be ignored. However, based on recent experience, the Immigration Department has relaxed the criteria for reviewing applications, making it possible for more persons in the Mainland to apply for residency.



What is QMAS?


QMAS is a quota-based entrant scheme officially launched by the Hong Kong Government on 28 June 2006. It seeks to attract highly skilled or talented persons to settle in Hong Kong in order to enhance Hong Kong’s economic competitiveness. Successful applicants are not required to have secured an offer of local employment before entry to Hong Kong for settlement.

Benefits of the scheme:

  • No need of investment, no employment restrictions and no warranties from employers needed
  • Only your application is required and your family members can migrate with you
  • Children can enjoy quality education in line with international standards
  • Hong Kong is a tax haven with no capital gains tax or estate tax and with tax exemption for overseas income



How to apply for QMAS?


Eligibility criteria:

  1. No serious criminal record
  2. Persons must be able to demonstrate capability 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. Proven proficiency in written and spoken Chinese (Mandarin or Cantonese) or English, and supporting documents demonstrating such proficiency
  4. A good education background, normally a bachelor degree from a recognized university or tertiary educational institution. In exceptional circumstances, technical qualifications, proven professional competence and/or experience and achievements with supporting documents may also be considered


Application process:

  1. Meeting with applicant to review all relevant information such as personal identification documents, resume, academic credentials and relevant work certificates
  2. Preliminary assessment of the success rate of application. If applicants confirm to process the application, a service agreement needs to be signed and the service fee settled
  3. Submission of required documents such as application forms, letters and business plan to the Immigration Department
  4. Submission and following up of the application with the Immigration Department and responding to enquiries
  5. Receipt of confirmation letter regarding the application and related file number from the Immigration Department. If extra documents are required, applicant is expected to receive notification within four weeks of submission
  6. Begin the selection process and receive the allocated quota
  7. If the application is approved in principle, an “Approval-in-principle letter” will be received
  8. Applicant invited to attend an interview in person in Hong Kong within three months
  9. The results for review are expected to take from four to five months. We will assist in collecting and delivering the visa label to applicant after the application has been approved
  10. Applicant must come to Hong Kong within three months of the designated date of the entry visa label and make an appointment to apply for a Hong Kong temporary identity card within 30 days. After two weeks, applicant can go to the Immigration Department to obtain a temporary ID card


Processing time:

It normally takes between four and five months to process QMAS applications upon receipt of all required documents by the Immigration Department (including the announcement of the selection result and issue of “Approval-in-principle letter”). After living in Hong Kong for seven consecutive years, applicants will be able to apply for permanent residency in Hong Kong (subject to conditional restrictions and approval by the Immigration Department of Hong Kong).



QMAS has two sets of selection criteria, with no investment or proof of funding. Applicants who meet all the application qualifications will be assessed under one of the two sets of selection criteria. Although QMAS is a point-scoring immigration scheme, there are many subjective and objective factors or variable factors involved in the application process. In addition, the preparation of the application documents is complicated. Those with experience can better highlight the advantages of the applicant and increase the success rate.


It will therefore save time and worry for applicants to entrust a professional agency to assist in the application to raise the success rate of the application.



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