Known around the world as an international center for business and culture, Hong Kong is an alluring destination for retirees seeking a fast-paced, cosmopolitan life that combines the best of the East with the best of the West. Located in the South China Sea close to the southern manufacturing provinces of China, Hong Kong is a thrilling city that has a lot to offer for those that can enjoy its rapid pace of living.
Despite the expense associated with living in the city, the small apartments and lack of living spaces, and the air quality that’s becoming a large issue in the region, Hong Kong remains a major port of immigration for both Westerners and residents from other Asian countries. With a large immigrant and expatriate community, there are few cities that beat Hong Kong when it comes to ease of cultural integration.
Hong Kong has a relatively open border system, whereby skilled applicants from a range of countries are easily able to move to the territory and reside there legally. However, due to mass immigration from the People’s Republic of China, there are a range of options being considered to reduce the current level of immigration.
For what it’s worth, this makes it more important than ever before to make the move to Hong Kong, or at least to secure long-term residency, while it’s still quite simple. Using the guidelines in this article, you will be able to secure a long-term visa for Hong Kong, provided you meet the minimum application requirements.
Does Hong Kong Offer A Retirement Visa?
Unlike Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines, Hong Kong has no formal retirement visa scheme. Retirees seeking a home in Hong Kong are required to gain entry to the territory using either a long-term non-resident visa, or by becoming a permanent Hong Kong resident by residing in the territory for over seven years continuously.
While this may seem like a deal-breaker for would-be retirees, the visa system in Hong Kong is relatively simple. There are two options available for foreigners that would like to retire in Hong Kong. The first is to establish or join a Hong Kong-based business and gain residency through your employment there, or from ownership.
Establishing a business in Hong Kong is an inexpensive process that requires only two to three days to complete. Business bank accounts can be established in Hong Kong within a matter of days and the business can begin operating shortly after. A useful option for those with the capital and business drive to make it a reality, this option is nonetheless very expensive, particularly for those with limited funds.
The second option is to acquire a long-term visa in Hong Kong through the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme. Designed for high net worth individuals that want to make Hong Kong their home, this scheme allows for visitors to Hong Kong to gain a long-term visa, and eventually permanent residency, by investing in a Hong Kong-based company, or by making capital investment in bonds or services in Hong Kong.
Again, this option is expensive – prohibitively expensive, in some cases. As Hong Kong is regarded as one of the world’s financial capitals, the region’s focus is on attracting investors that will stimulate the local economy and provide tax revenue for the region. As such, most visas require employment or investment.
What Options Are Available For Non-Investors Or Entrepreneurs?
While Thailand and the Philippines welcome non-investors with open arms, Hong Kong is somewhat restrictive to those that wish to reside in the territory as retirees. This is partly due to Hong Kong’s more extensive social welfare system, which has the potential to be abused by retirees entering the territory as non-workers.
For those that wish to retire in Hong Kong without investing in the territory, one of the best options is to work in Hong Kong and establish residency in the region. This is obviously a long-term approach to gaining residency in Hong Kong, as applicants for permanent residency must have stayed for over seven years prior to applying.
For some, however, this long-term approach is worth the time required to qualify for residency. As a Hong Kong Permanent Resident, you are able to retire within the territory with few or no restrictions. However, given the amount of time required to qualify for residency, this option is a serious consideration for those that pursue it.
Although Hong Kong offers no formal retirement scheme, the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme and long-term work visas make it a possible retirement destination for those with the will to invest in a foreign economy, and the capital to make it a possibility.
For those with the income and savings to make retirement in Hong Kong possible, an exciting city awaits. However, given the expense and requirements of acquiring long-term residency as a foreigner to Hong Kong, most would-be retirees to Asia look at different locations with less restrictive immigration requirements.