What is the change? Hong Kong employers must include a new declaration form verifying their local recruitment efforts when applying for work permits in the General Employment Policy category and Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals category. The Immigration Department has confirmed that employers hiring foreign nationals under the Immigration Arrangement for Non-local Graduates category do not need to conduct local recruitment and are not required to file the declaration form.

What does the change mean? An authorized individual in the company must sign and stamp a declaration form stating that “genuine efforts have been made to recruit suitable local candidates but without success,” or providing a reason if genuine efforts have not been made. This requirement follows recent changes requiring employers to take additional job-advertising steps.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work permit applications and change of sponsor applications under the General Employment Policy or the Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professional categories.
  • Who is affected: Companies sponsoring foreign nationals in the above categories.
  • Business impact: Employers should make sure they are attempting to recruit local candidates and documenting their efforts.

Background: The Hong Kong Immigration Department was subjected to a government audit in April that made several recommendations aimed at strengthening enforcement in a number of areas, including whether employers were taking steps to hire local workers before filling jobs with foreign workers.

BAL Analysis: The additional declaration form is consistent with expected changes as a result of the audit. Hong Kong employers should expect greater tightening of immigration rules in the near future as the department continues to implement the audit recommendations.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Hong Kong. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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