Assistance with Entry to Hong Kong

Seek HKIAC assistance to obtain an employment visa or arbitration or ADR in Hong Kong

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HKIAC Services to Assist Entry to Hong Kong for Dispute Resolution Proceedings

There currently exist several regimes that apply to different groups of individuals who wish to enter Hong Kong to participate in dispute resolution proceedings, including a regime for exemption from Hong Kong’s current quarantine requirements that applies to certain individuals.

The individuals to whom these regimes apply, and the relevant regimes, are set out in the table below, and further details are provided:

 Relevant IndividualsRelevant Regime
1.

Non-Hong Kong residents who are nationals of visitor visa-free jurisdictions entering Hong Kong to participate in arbitral proceedings as arbitrators, expert or factual witnesses, counsel or parties

The Pilot Scheme on Facilitation for Persons Participating in Arbitral Proceedings in Hong Kong (“Scheme”) (see section 1 below)

2.

Non-Hong Kong residents from non-visa-free jurisdictions (other than Mainland China) entering Hong Kong who require an employment visa to participate in dispute resolution proceedings 

General Employment Policy (“GEP”) as detailed in the Guidebook for Entry for Employment as Professionals in Hong Kong (“Guidebook”) issued by the Immigration Department of Hong Kong (“Immigration Department”) (see section 2 below)

3.

Chinese residents of Mainland China entering Hong Kong who require an employment visa to participate in dispute resolution proceedings 

The Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals (“ASMTP”) as detailed in the Guidebook (see section 3 below)

4.

Arbitrators, mediators, counsel, expert/fact witnesses and other individuals involved in arbitration or mediation proceedings administered by a qualified institution (including HKIAC), or court proceedings, returning or travelling to Hong Kong from Mainland China, Macao or Taiwan, who wish to apply for exemption from compulsory quarantine in Hong Kong

The Compulsory Quarantine of Certain Persons Arriving at Hong Kong Regulation (Cap. 599C) (“Regulation”), as amended on 29 April 2020 (“Exemption Arrangement”) (see section 4 below).

 

HKIAC provides services in respect of each of these regimes. Further details on each regime are provided below.

The following is subject to current restrictions in place in Hong Kong in light of COVID-19. Until further notice, all non-Hong Kong residents coming from overseas countries and regions by plane will be denied entry to Hong Kong, and non-Hong Kong residents coming from Mainland China, Macao and Taiwan will be denied entry into Hong Kong if they have been to any overseas countries and regions in the past 14 days.

 

1. HKIAC’s Services under the Scheme

1.1 With effect from 29 June 2020, the Hong Kong government implements the Scheme to facilitate the short-term entry into Hong Kong of eligible non-Hong Kong residents participating in arbitral proceedings. Under the Scheme, non-Hong Kong residents who are nationals of visitor visa-free jurisdictions may enter Hong Kong to participate in arbitral proceedings as arbitrators, expert or factual witnesses, counsel or parties, without the need to obtain any visa/entry permit (“Eligible Individuals”). Participation in arbitral proceedings includes attendance at hearings or case management conferences, meetings with clients to prepare for a hearing, and interviewing expert or factual witnesses.

1.2 Eligible Individuals may stay in Hong Kong as visitors to participate in arbitral proceedings for a term not exceeding the relevant visa-free period for visitors of their nationality.

1.3 An Eligible Individual who intends to enter Hong Kong under the Scheme shall obtain a Letter of Proof from a qualified institution and, if required, present it at immigration points for inspection upon arrival in Hong Kong.

1.4 HKIAC is a qualified institution under the Scheme. Upon request, HKIAC may issue Letters of Proof in arbitrations administered by HKIAC and in ad hoc arbitrations in which the hearing will be held at HKIAC’s premises. HKIAC charges no fees for issuing Letters of Proof.

1.5 To request a Letter of Proof, the following information and documents in respect of the Eligible Individual must be provided to HKIAC:

(1) name, date of birth, gender and nationality;

(2) role in the arbitration (i.e. arbitrator, expert or factual witness, counsel or party);

(3) estimated date of arrival in Hong Kong;

(4) nature of the intended activity (i.e. attending a hearing or case management conference; meeting with clients to prepare for a hearing; or interviewing expert or factual witnesses);

(5) start-date of the intended activity; 

(6) estimated end-date of the intended activity;

(7) planned venue of the intended activity;

(8) documentary proof in respect of (1)-(7) above. This may include, for example, copies of the Eligible Individual’s passport, flight ticket, itinerary in Hong Kong and proof of his/her role in the arbitration; and

(9) any other information or documents required by HKIAC.

1.6 A Letter of Proof does not grant automatic entry into Hong Kong. Eligible Individuals will still be subject to Hong Kong’s immigration laws and policies. Individuals who intend to enter Hong Kong to engage in activities outside of the scope of the Scheme are required to apply for an appropriate visa/entry permit from the Immigration Department.

1.7 The Scheme is not applicable to residents of Mainland China, Macao or Taiwan, or individuals who require a visa/entry permit to visit Hong Kong.

 

2. HKIAC’s Services under GEP

2.1 Non-Hong Kong residents from non-visa-free jurisdictions (other than Mainland China) who require an employment visa to participate in dispute resolution proceedings in Hong Kong may apply for an employment visa under GEP as detailed in the Guidebook.

2.2 Upon request, HKIAC may assist an applicant in applying for an employment visa for the purposes of participating in proceedings administered by HKIAC or ad hoc proceedings in which the hearing will be held at HKIAC’s premises (“HKIAC Proceedings”). HKIAC charges a fixed fee of HK$2,000 for assisting each application.

2.3 To request HKIAC’s assistance, the following information and documents must be provided to HKIAC:

(1) completed and signed ID 990A (Application Form for Entry for Employment as Professionals in Hong Kong);

(2) copy of the applicant’s valid travel document;

(3) copy of the applicant’s Hong Kong identity card (if any);

(4) copy of the applicant’s Macao identity card (for Macao residents only), household registration in Taiwan and Taiwan identity card (for Taiwan residents only), or proof of overseas residence (for overseas Chinese holding PRC passports only);  

(5) copy of proof of academic qualifications and relevant work experience;

(6) supporting letter from the applicant’s employer; and

(7) any other information or documents required by HKIAC.   

2.4 Upon receipt of the information and documents listed at paragraph 2.3 above, HKIAC will:

(1) issue a letter confirming the necessary information in respect of the applicant’s participation in the HKIAC Proceedings;

(2) complete and sign ID 990B (Application Form for Employing Professionals in Hong Kong) where necessary;

(3) submit the application to the Immigration Department on behalf of the applicant; and

(4) collect the visa/entry permit label, if approved, and transmit it to the applicant. 

 

3. HKIAC’s Services under ASMTP

3.1 Chinese residents of Mainland China who require an employment visa to participate in dispute resolution proceedings in Hong Kong may apply for an employment visa under ASMTP as detailed in the Guidebook.

3.2 Upon request, HKIAC may assist an applicant in applying for an employment visa for the purposes of participating in the HKIAC Proceedings. HKIAC charges a fixed fee of HK$2,000 for assisting each application.

3.3 To request HKIAC’s assistance, the following information and documents must be provided to HKIAC:

(1) completed and signed ID 990A (Application Form for Entry for Employment as Professionals in Hong Kong);

(2) copy of the applicant’s valid travel document;

(3) copy of the applicant’s Hong Kong identity card (if any);

(4) copy of proof of academic qualifications and relevant work experience;

(5) supporting letter from the applicant’s employer;

(6) letter of consent from the applicant’s present working unit or relevant Mainland Chinese authorities; and

(7) any other information or documents required by HKIAC.  

3.4 Upon receipt of the information and documents listed at paragraph 3.3 above, HKIAC will:

(1) issue a letter confirming the necessary information in respect of the applicant’s participation in the HKIAC Proceedings;

(2) complete and sign ID 990B (Application Form for Employing Professionals in Hong Kong) where necessary;

(3) submit the application to the Immigration Department on behalf of the applicant; and

(4) collect the visa/entry permit label, if approved, and transmit it to the applicant. 

 

4. HKIAC’s Services under the Exemption Arrangement

4.1 Since 8 February 2020, all individuals arriving in Hong Kong from Mainland China, Macao or Taiwan have been subject to compulsory quarantine for 14 days under the Regulation. The Regulation has been amended to exempt, among others, the following individuals from compulsory quarantine in Hong Kong with effect from 19 May 2020:

(1) arbitrators, mediators or counsel returning to Hong Kong from Mainland China, Macao or Taiwan after providing necessary professional services in arbitration or mediation proceedings administered by a qualified institution (including HKIAC) or court proceedings (“Eligible Proceedings”) in any of those jurisdictions; and

(2) arbitrators, mediators or counsel travelling from Mainland China, Macao or Taiwan to Hong Kong to provide necessary professional services in Eligible Proceedings in Hong Kong.

4.2 Eligible individuals listed at paragraph 4.1 above may submit applications to the Department of Justice of Hong Kong (“DoJ”). The application procedure is available here.

4.3 Expert and factual witnesses and other individuals involved in Eligible Proceedings may also submit applications to the DoJ. The DoJ will consider such applications on a case-by-case basis under the relevant statutory exemption provisions.

4.4 When processing an application, the DoJ may consult the relevant body where necessary. Where the DoJ requests information in respect of the application or the underlying proceedings from HKIAC, HKIAC may provide the information requested to the extent that it is in a position to do so. This is the extent of HKIAC’s involvement in applications under the Exemption Arrangement.  

4.5 If the application is granted, the DoJ will issue an authorisation letter to the exempted individual setting out the conditions of exemption.

4.6 The Exemption Arrangement currently expires on 7 July 2020. This expiry date may be extended by the Hong Kong government.

4.7 For the avoidance of doubt, the Exemption Arrangement does not affect the regimes that are applicable to different groups of individuals as set out in sections 1 to 3 above.

 

5. HKIAC Contact Information

5.1 An individual who wishes to request any assistance above in an arbitration administered by HKIAC may send the request to arbitration@hkiac.org and provide the relevant case reference number.

5.2 An individual who wishes to request any assistance above in a mediation administered by HKIAC may send the request to mediation@hkiac.org and provide the relevant case reference number.

5.3 An individual who wishes to request any assistance above in ad hoc proceedings in which the hearing will be held at HKIAC’s premises may send the request to booking@hkiac.org.

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