Arbitral hearings scheme extended

February 28, 2023

The Government announced today the expansion of a pilot scheme for two years starting March 1, to continue providing facilitation for non-Hong Kong residents participating in arbitral proceedings in the city on a short-term basis.


The scope of the scheme is also expanded to cover all visitors, including those who require a visit visa or entry permit to enter Hong Kong and residents of the Mainland, Macau and Taiwan.


Under the scheme launched in June 2020, nationals of countries who may visit Hong Kong visa-free and possess a letter of proof are allowed to take part in arbitral proceedings in the city as visitors, without the need to obtain an employment visa.


The scheme covers four categories of visa-free nationals: arbitrators, expert and factual witnesses, arbitration counsel and parties to the arbitration.


The duration that they may stay in Hong Kong for arbitral proceedings shall not exceed the current visa-free period for a visit.


The scheme is to be reviewed in two years’ time.


Upon review, the scope of the pilot scheme is now expanded to also cover eligible people who are visa-required nationals as well as Mainland, Macau and Taiwan residents.


For the avoidance of doubt, such people are still required to apply for the requisite visit visa or entry permit in order to enter Hong Kong. They are permitted to stay in the city for arbitral proceedings for a period not exceeding that for which they are permitted to remain in Hong Kong as a visitor.


People who seek to benefit from the pilot scheme shall, prior to their entry into Hong Kong, obtain a letter of proof that confirms they are eligible to participate in arbitral proceedings in Hong Kong.

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