Quality Migrant Admission Scheme
|Quality Migrant Admission Scheme|
The Quality Migrant Admission Scheme ("QMAS") is a points-based immigration system in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. It was first announced in February 2006, and began accepting applications in June of the same year; by May 2008, nearly 500 people had been admitted to residence in Hong Kong under the scheme.
|40||40||One doctorate or two master's|
|30||35||One master's or two bachelor's|
|Working experience in a job requiring a bachelor's degree or professional qualification|
|Languages spoken and written fluently|
|20||20||Both Chinese and English|
|0||15||One of Chinese or English, plus an additional language|
|0||10||One of Chinese or English|
|Spoken fluency in Chinese may be demonstrated using either Cantonese or Mandarin|
|Add points for each qualifying item|
|5||5||Per unmarried child under the age of 18, up to 10 points|
|5||5||Accompanied by a spouse holding at least a bachelor's degree|
|5||5||Direct family member is a Hong Kong permanent resident|
With the aim of attracting talented people from mainland China and the rest of the world to settle and work in Hong Kong, the QMAS set up admissions criteria under which applicants could be admitted to residence in Hong Kong without the prior offer of local employment required for a normal working visa. The scheme was first announced in February 2006. It began accepting applications on 28 June of that year, with a quota of 1,000 applicants. The scheme included two methods of assessment: a general points test, under which applicants would be awarded points based on their education, age, working experience, language abilities, and family background, and an achievement-based test for people such as Olympic medalists, Nobel laureates, or scientists and professionals with significant recognition in their field. The minimum passing mark under the general points test is 80 points.
Six people applied in the first week; however, the government waited until November 2006 to issue the first visa under the scheme, to pianist Lang Lang. In 2007, 582 people applied under the scheme, of whom 322 (55.3%) were admitted, 42 through the achievement-based points test and 280 through the general points test. 188 came from mainland China.
Relaxation of criteria
As early as November 2007, the government floated the idea of loosening the criteria for admission under the QMAS, due to the underwhelming response. Details of the amendments were announced in January 2008; the age limit for applicants was raised from 50 to 55, points would be awarded for as little as two years of working experience as opposed to five before the amendment, and applicants could receive points for abilities in languages other than Chinese or English.
Following the amendment, the number of applicants under the scheme increased slightly; however, the passing rate dropped, according to government sources, with only 60% of short-listed applications approved as of February 2008, compared to 71% before the revision. By the end of May that year, the number of people admitted under the scheme drew near to 500; however, this still formed only a minute proportion of the roughly 210,000 non-local professionals working in Hong Kong. For 2008, 1,317 people applied for admission under the scheme, an increase of 130% over the 2007 figure.
In total, from June 2006 to August 2013, 9,932 people applied to settle in Hong Kong under QMAS, among whom 2,553 (26%) were accepted. The acceptance rate fell sharply from a peak of 41% in 2008 to 15% in 2012, which was the highest year to date for the number of applications received. Of the successful applicants, 1,997 (78%) were from mainland China, 291 (11%) were from other parts of the Asia-Pacific region, 163 (6.4%) were from North America, 94 (3.7%) were from Europe, and 8 (0.3%) were from South America or Africa.
- Age: Applicants must be aged between 18 and 50
- Financial Requirement: Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they are capable of supporting and accommodating themselves and their dependants, if any, on their own without relying on public assistance during their stay in Hong Kong;
- Good Character: Applicants must meet normal immigration and security requirements. They should not have any criminal or adverse immigration record in Hong Kong or elsewhere;
- Language Proficiency: Applicants must be proficient in Chinese (Mandarin or Cantonese) or English;
- Basic Educational Qualification: Applicants must have a good education background, normally a first degree supported by documentary evidence. In special circumstances, good technical qualifications, proven professional abilities and/or experience and achievements supported by documentary evidence may be considered.
- Nationality: Nationals of Afghanistan, Cambodia, Cuba, Laos, North Korea, Nepal and Vietnam may not apply under QMAS.
The twenty-member Advisory Committee on Admission of Quality Migrants and Professionals advises the Director of Immigration on applications received under QMAS. As of 2012, the membership of the Committee comprises:
- Ms Marjorie Yang Mun-tak (Chairperson)
- Dr Wilco Chan Wai-hung
- Mr Cheng Chi-ming
- Mr Cheung Leong
- Professor Nicole Cheung Wai-ting
- Mr David Ho Chi-hoo
- Mr Ko Chi-sum
- Ms Serena Lau Sze-wan
- Ms Christina Maisenne Lee
- Mr Sunny Lee Wai-kwong
- Professor Leung Mee-lee
- Ms Lo Po-man
- Dr Edward Lo Wai-chau
- Mr William Ma Wing-kai
- Mr Joseph Ngai
- Dr Pan Pey-chyou
- Professor Grace Tang Wai-king
- Mr Ivan Ting Tien-li
- Representative from the Labour and Welfare Bureau
- Representative from the Security Bureau
- Representative from the Labour Department
- Barry Beck, Canadian National Hockey League player
- Hu Jun, Chinese actor 
- Lan Rao, Chinese soprano
- Lang Lang, Chinese pianist
- Li Yundi, Chinese pianist
- Li Ning, Chinese Olympics gold medalist for gymnastics
- Tang Wei, Chinese actress
- Zhang Ziyi, Chinese actress
- Zhou Mi, Chinese badminton player
- Zhou Xun, Chinese actress
- HK to relax restrictions on immigration scheme, Eastday, 2007-11-10, retrieved 2008-01-16
- "Achievement-based Points Test", Quality Migrant Admission Scheme, Immigration Department, Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, 2007-02-14, retrieved 2008-01-17
- Quality migrant scheme ready by June, News.gov.hk, 2006-02-23, retrieved 2008-01-16
- Quality migrant scheme applications open, News.gov.hk, 2006-06-28, retrieved 2008-01-16
- "优秀人才入境计划"已吸引近500专业人士 (Quality Migrant Admission Scheme has already attracted nearly 500 professionals), Xinhua News, 2008-05-30, retrieved 2009-01-23
- "General Points Test", Quality Migrant Admission Scheme, Immigration Department, Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, 2008-04-25, retrieved 2009-01-22
- "General Points Test", Quality Migrant Admission Scheme, Immigration Department, Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, 2006-08-01, archived from the original on 2007-01-27, retrieved 2009-01-22
- "Prevailing Minimum Passing Mark", Quality Migrant Admission Scheme, Immigration Department, Government of the Hong Kong Special Administration, 2008-04-25, retrieved 2009-01-22
- 鋼琴家郎朗成為香港優秀人才入境計劃第一人 (Pianist Lang Lang becomes first person in Quality Migrant Admission Scheme), Xinhua News, 2006-11-28, retrieved 2008-01-17
- Hong Kong: City losing expat appeal, Taipei Times, 2006-07-07, retrieved 2008-01-17
- "优才计划"：找到最适合香港的人才 (The Quality Migrant Admission Scheme: Finding talented individuals who best suit Hong Kong), Xinhua News, 2008-01-16, retrieved 2008-01-16
- 周迅領身分證正式成港人 (Zhou Xun obtains Hong Kong Identity Card, officially becomes a Hong Kong person), Sina News, 2009-02-08, retrieved 2009-02-12
- 香港財經界成了海歸精英大舞臺 (Hong Kong finance industry becomes a big stage for elite returnees), Hong Kong Economic Weekly, 2007-12-19, retrieved 2008-01-17
- Migrant vetting scheme remains stringent, News.gov.hk, 2008-02-23, retrieved 2008-01-23
- Lai, Tung-kwok (2013-10-09), LCQ12: Immigration policy, Info.gov.hk, retrieved 2013-10-09; the statistics on the total number of applicants are in Annex 8, while the breakdown by region is in Annex 9.
- "Scope of the Scheme", Quality Migrant Admission Scheme, Immigration Department, Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, 2008-04-24, retrieved 2012-03-14
- "Appointments to Advisory Committee on Admission of Quality Migrants and Professionals". info.gov.hk. 2010-06-30. Retrieved 2013-03-27.
- Hu wants to become a Hong Konger, The Standard (Hong Kong), 2008-03-12, retrieved 2008-03-21
- 深港音乐界携手 圣诞音乐会情定门德尔松 (Shenzhen, Hong Kong musicians join hands to sing Mendelssohn), Shenzhen News, 2007-12-03, retrieved 2008-01-17
- 李雲迪:成為香港居民感到榮幸 (Li Yundi: I feel honoured to become a Hong Kong resident), Wen Wei Po, 2007-01-15, retrieved 2008-01-17
- Li Ning tops up tally for SAR, The Standard (Hong Kong), 2008-08-15, retrieved 2009-01-22
- 因曾獲金馬獎湯唯通過"優才計劃"成為香港人 (Due to receiving the Golden Horse award, Tang Wei became a resident of Hong Kong under QMAS), Xinhua News, 2008-08-24, retrieved 2008-11-25
- Report: Zhang Ziyi now Hong Kong resident, Xinhua News, 2007-09-24, retrieved 2009-02-01