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Hong Kong Residence By Investment Factsheet

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Hong Kong attracts business entrepreneurs, professionals and families from around the world, with low crime rates, excellent living standards, a highly developed infrastructure and relatively low taxes, with a large and vibrant expat population.

The Special Administrative Region (SAR) is more accessible than mainland China. It operates on the one country, two systems rule. Hong Kong is constitutionally governed separately from the People’s Republic of China and is generally seen as more liberal, multinational and relaxed.

While the population density is high, foreign nationals are attracted by the culture, street markets, cuisine and booming economy, with thousands of corporations that commonly hire international workers.

Although the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme has now closed, several ways to gain Hong Kong residency are through business investment, employment or skills-related visa categories.

About Hong Kong


Hong Kong Dollar (HKD)


Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China

Towns and cities

Hong Kong, Kowloon, Victoria, and Tuen Mun are the largest cities and towns in Hong Kong based on population size.


7.413 million

British Expats

An estimated 33,733 UK citizens live in Hong Kong.


Cantonese is the primary language in Hong Kong, spoken by around 96 per cent of people. However, approximately 48 per cent also speak Mandarin, and 46 per cent speak English.


The weather in Hong Kong is humid and subtropical, similar to southern mainland China, with long, hot summers with thunderstorms and warm winds. The average temperature in July ranges from 27°C (80.6°F) to 31°C (87.8°F).

Cold fronts occasionally bring wind and snow during the winter, although only at the higher elevations, with average temperatures in January and February, the coolest months, of 14°C (57.2°F) to 19°C (66.2°F). Extreme weather is possible, including typhoons which can cause landslides and floods.


The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Hong Kong is roughly $369.2 billion (£292.5 billion), making it the 39th largest economy globally. Hong Kong has a GDP 35 per cent higher per capita than the UK, with major industries including logistics, tourism and financial services.


Hong Kong is around 37 miles from Macau, off the southern coast of China, and comprises several islands, with Hong Kong being the largest. Other islands such as Lamma, Lantau and Cheung are also within Hong Kong territory.

Residence By Investment Options

The previous Capital Investment Entrant Scheme was introduced in 2003 and suspended in 2015. Still, there are varied ways for skilled foreign nationals to apply for a residency permit, with applications assessed against a points system.

There are three primary routes to residency:

  • The Quality Migrant Admission Scheme is designed for expats with talents or skills contributing to the Hong Kong economy. However, some citizens of specific countries are excluded – including Cuba, Laos and Korea.
  • The General Employment Policy covers a broader scope and is open to applicants moving to Hong Kong for professional employment positions.
  • Entrepreneurial investment through the General Employment Policy allows foreign nationals to apply for residency by establishing or joining an existing business.

Successful applicants must score at least 80 points out of a maximum possible 225, and work through five qualification categories, based on the applicant’s age, qualifications, work experience, ability to speak Cantonese, and familial connections with Hong Kong.

Foreign nationals with exceptional awards or significant accolades for their achievements can apply through a separate Achievement-Based Points Test and be awarded the maximum potential points.


Residents can apply for permanent residency after living in Hong Kong for seven years. Although residency status does not provide specific travel freedoms, expats can invest and trade in mainland China.


Visa processing times tend to range between four and eight months.

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UK citizens travelling to Hong Kong do not need a visa if they intend to stay for up to six months and will not be working, studying or running a business. Otherwise, foreign nationals must have a valid visa and permit to live and work in Hong Kong.

Various visas and entry permits are depending on the applicant’s profession, age, and work offer. Still, work visas are generally granted to those with a recognised skill or accreditation or applicants who provide experience or knowledge not already available in Hong Kong.

Work visa applicants must usually have at least a degree, a confirmed job offer, and a remuneration package that includes income, medical cover and accommodation in line with the average norms.

Discover more information about visa and entry permits for Hong Kong.


Hong Kong residents are considered tax residents if they live in the country for 183 days a year and will pay taxes on all worldwide income. However, the Hong Kong tax system divides income into three categories:

  • Profits tax – levied on business or trading income.
  • Salaries tax – charged against employment income and pension benefits.
  • Property tax – based on income from rental properties.

New residents must register with the Hong Kong Inland Revenue Department (HKIRD). They will be assessed based on their time in Hong Kong, their primary income source, and employment status rather than whether they have residency permits.

Cost Of Living

Living costs in Hong Kong are similar to those in London, although slightly more affordable, with general consumer costs around 9.9 per cent lower and rental prices 9.4 per cent less expensive.

Compared to the UK averages, goods cost about 15.5 per cent more, and groceries are 57.1 per cent higher, although restaurant costs in Hong Kong are 27.8 per cent lower than in Britain.

An average family of four requires an estimated £3,073 per month to cover general outgoings, excluding accommodation, and a single person needs approximately £865 per month. After-tax, the average net monthly salary is HKD 22,458 (£2,273) compared to £2,319 in the UK.


Foreign nationals are permitted to buy property in Hong Kong and own properties to rent out. Most purchases require a five per cent deposit, paid when completing initial agreements, with the balance due within eight weeks.

Rental accommodation is available across Hong Kong, primarily apartments in the more densely populated areas, and rental prices are negotiable. Premium rental properties within a compound often include communal facilities and services, with the highest average costs in Hong Kong, followed by Kowloon.

Tenants usually need to pay a deposit worth two months’ rent plus a month’s advance payment before their tenancy can begin.

One-bedroom city centre apartmentHKD 17,663 / £1,786
One-bedroom apartment elsewhereHKD 12,733 / £1,287
Three-bedroom city centre apartmentHKD 34,905 / £3,529
Three-bedroom apartment elsewhereHKD 22,916 / £2,317
Source: Numbeo

Explore properties for sale in Hong Kong through Rightmove.


The public healthcare system in Hong Kong is low-cost and high-quality. However, most expats choose to take out private insurance or have insurance coverage in their employment package.

Residents living in Hong Kong who register for an identity card can access subsidised public healthcare services and treatments. Non-permanent residents will generally be charged a fee, which can vary depending on the hospital or clinic.

Private services are widely available, but pricing is similarly varied, with some centres offering affordable treatments comparable to public healthcare charges, whereas others can be costly.

Hong Kong Residence By Investment FAQ

Can the Hong Kong government remove residency?

Residency by investment in Hong Kong is based on a points system rather than direct investment into the economy since the previous Capital Investment Entrant Scheme was closed in January 2015. Applicants must now qualify for residency by meeting skills requirements or launching a business.

Foreign nationals become eligible for permanent residence after living in Hong Kong under a valid seven-year visa. Still, they can lose their right to residency if they leave the country for 36 months.

When is a residence application rejected?

Expats applying for a long-term visa are assessed on a points system, where highly skilled applicants with professional accreditations are more likely to achieve higher points awards. Those who do not reach the pass mark of 80 points out of 225 will be rejected.

How long is the flight from Hong Kong to the UK?

Hong Kong International Airport is the only international airport, and the average flight from the UK takes 12 hours and 45 minutes, flying from London Heathrow. Direct flights are limited, although around an hour shorter, and are available through British Airways and Cathay Pacific.

What’s the currency in Hong Kong?

The official currency is the Hong Kong Dollar (HKD).

Do British passport holders need a visa?

UK citizens can travel to Hong Kong for temporary stays of up to six months without a visa. Foreign nationals intending to live in the country for longer or permanently or who wish to study or work in Hong Kong will require a visa. They must have at least one month of validity on their passport following their planned departure date.

Learn more about Hong Kong residency through the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme.

Below is a list of related articles you may find of interest.


  1. Hong Kong Immigration Department – Official website of the Hong Kong Immigration Department, providing information on different visa categories, entry requirements, and the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme: Link
  2. Expat Arrivals – “Moving to Hong Kong” – A comprehensive guide for expats moving to Hong Kong, covering various aspects such as visas, cost of living, healthcare, and more: Link
  3. – “Living in Hong Kong” – Guidance from the UK government on living in Hong Kong, including information on visas, healthcare, education, and other practical considerations: Link
  4. InvestHK – Official website of Invest Hong Kong, providing information and resources for businesses and investors interested in Hong Kong: Link
  5. Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) – “Doing Business in Hong Kong” – A comprehensive guide from HKTDC, offering insights into the business environment, legal framework, taxation, and other aspects of doing business in Hong Kong: Link

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