Hong Kong Immigration To Favor Blockchain Developers

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Hong Kong has made another move toward becoming a world centre for blockchain development, with the announcement that its immigration policy will now favor blockchain developers.

The news came with the publication of the Hong Kong government’s talent list, which specified 11 different skills and professions that would be subject to more favorable scoring for applications under the city’s Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS).

Specifically, the talent list drew reference to “innovation and technology experts in, but not limited to ... artificial intelligence, robotics, distributed ledger technologies, biometric technologies and industrial/chemical engineering, etc.”

The QMAS scheme was set up in 2006 as a mechanism for allowing immigration into Hong Kong without a firm job offer.

QMAS is described as “a quota-based entrant scheme. It seeks to attract highly skilled or talented persons to settle in Hong Kong in order to enhance Hong Kong’s economic competitiveness,” with applications from those with a DLT development background now likely to be approved more readily.

According to the government’s release, applicants who meet the specifications in the talent list will benefit from “bonus marks (to) be given under the General Points Test of the QMAS,” one of the two points tests used to rank applications.

In order to qualify, developers must hold at minimum a bachelor’s degree in the field, along with supporting evidence of work experience in the blockchain and financial technology sectors. For those who meet the grade, the new immigration approach is expected to deliver faster approvals to streamline the process of immigrating to Hong Kong.

The move is the latest play by authorities in Hong Kong, as the autonomous administrative region aims to become a leading global hub for blockchain and distributed ledger technology.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the de facto central bank of Hong Kong, is now pioneering a rollout of blockchain technology across a number of banks, in a bid to improve efficiency in trade finance arrangements. Meanwhile, a number of other firms and development teams are working on notable blockchain projects.

With the new immigration policy designed to help these firms secure leading global talent, it remains to be seen whether Hong Kong’s blockchain scene can continue on its promising trajectory.