HK requires criminal record for talent scheme applicants, after revoking visa of convicted gene-editing scientist He Jiankui
Published: Feb 26, 2023 09:59 PM
An aerial view of Hong Kong Photo: VCG

An aerial view of Hong Kong Photo: VCG

A "clear criminal record" has become a mandatory document in the application of visas for future talent admission schemes in Hong Kong, the Immigration Department (ImmD) of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region announced on Sunday, after the visa issued to controversial scientist He Jiankui, convicted of illegal gene editing, was revoked.
Following the adjustment of the application procedures of the Top Talent Pass Scheme of February 22, the ImmD will adjust the entry application procedures for other talent admissions. Starting from Monday, applicants will be required to declare whether they have undergone any criminal convictions previously to their applications.
The other talent schemes include General Employment Policy, Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals, Technology Talent Admission Scheme, Immigration Arrangements for Non-local Graduates and Admission Scheme for the Second Generation of Chinese Hong Kong Permanent Residents.

The ImmD said it has been assessing each application for visa/entry permits in a rigorous manner all along and it will adjust application procedures and the information required from time to time.
The criminal record requirement for the Top Talent Pass Scheme came after HKSAR issued a visa to He Jiankui and revoked it in less than one day for "false statements."
In 2018, He, then a genome-editing researcher at the Southern University of Science and Technology of China in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, claimed to have created the world's first genetically modified human being.
He was sentenced to three years in prison in December 2019 for illegally conducting a human embryo gene-editing intended for reproduction. He was reportedly released from prison in April 2022.
The HKSAR government rolled out the largest-ever policy package in 2023 to attract global talents.
The Top Talent Pass Scheme offers a two-year visa to applicants who earned at least HK$2.5 million ($428,000) in the past year or graduates from the world's top 100 universities who have worked for at least three years within the past five years.