Hong Kong Visas Made Easy


Nov 2022

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Nov 2022

Can I Apply for Right of Abode if My Employment Visa Expires on the Exact 7 Year Anniversary of My Residence in Hong Kong But I Have No Job on That Date?

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Long Stay & PR, Your Question Answered / 5 responses

First Published June 4, 2103

Do you need to be employed on the date that your 7 year anniversary of your residence in Hong Kong comes up which then allows you apply for the right of abode with the wrinkle that your current employment visa expires on exactly the same date?


I started working in Hong Kong with a working visa on 21st of April 2007.

Since then I have been continuously in Hong Kong, but have been made redundant this year.

My current working visa will expire on the 21st of April 2014.

Since I do not have a job, I will not get a new visa, so that day I will also have to leave Hong Kong.

My question: can I apply for the permanent residency on 25th of  April 2014 (as I have been at least 7 years now in Hong Kong, continuously, and I have decided to make it my home) and then leave Hong Kong and come back on a tourist visa while waiting for the -hopefully- approval?

Or just wait abroad untill they contact me?  If not, what should I do to ensure that I at least qualify the requirements for application?

I love Hong Kong so much that it would be a shame to just lose the PR because of that small period I am missing.

Thanks a lot.

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Nov 2022

How Do You Prove to the Hong Kong Immigration Department That You Have Tried to Recruit Locally?

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Your Question Answered / No responses


Excellent question earlier this week. Great opportunity to slay a few sacred cows.


Hi, one of the requirements for the work visa application is a proof of genuine vacancy. What if a sponsoring company doesn’t do job ads? What can he present? He does recruit locally via his network since he is just a small company. Appreciate your inputs.


It’s important to understand that not every job that has a foreign national candidate for it and a consideration of employment visa hanging off it, not every local job needs to have a local worker for it.

It just depends on all the circumstances of the case. There will be circumstances where you can visit the nature of the position and the circumstances that give rise to that foreign national needed to do that work. It becomes very self-evident that no one will exercise what needs to be undertaken. But how it works is if you are asked by the Immigration Department for proof of a local recruitment exercise, you have to show it. That is if you have conducted it, you need to show that you’ve done it. If you’ve conducted it unsuccessfully, you have an opportunity to explain why, supplying proof, how have you gone about the recruitment exercise and then just explaining how that process works.

If you haven’t conducted it, then you have to justify your application from the perspective that you’re the right person for the job. And either way, the sophistication and consideration exercise really gates the question and the mechanics of the recruitment process, to my way of thinking it may really be a bit hard there’s more important things going here.

So you have to be absolutely certain that no local can do a job before you make a claim that no one locally can reasonably be expected to do that job and that’s where all your focus should lie.

Ok, I hope this helps.

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Nov 2022

Will My Hong Kong Employment Visa be Compromised If I Leave My Job Due to Intolerable Working Conditions?

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Your Question Answered / No responses

Should you be worried that your employment visa status in Hong Kong might be undermined if you choose to leave the employ of an unsavoury employer?


Hello, my current employer and visa sponsor is a small business, and my working conditions are intolerable – twice the amount of hours than stated on the contract, poor pay, fines for sick days off and unexplained additional fines deducted from my salary without notice nor explanation, plus late payment of salary.

I have been with them for seven months and paid to get here myself.

They have also asked me to lie to the inland revenue to say my contract started two months after it did – because it took me two months to get a free day to go to Macau and activate my visa.

It’s all very shabby.

Three other similar staff have ‘left in the night’ because there is a HK$25,000 fee to leave the contract (plus work two months unpaid, and pay another undisclosed fee for leaving without serving two months notice).

I have another company who will sponsor me and I would like to know if I can release my sponsorship with my present employer myself, or do they have the power to refuse the release and transfer of my visa to another company?

Can they stop me working anywhere else if I walk?

I can not continue working in these conditions, but I do not want to leave Hong Kong and I have other employers waiting.

Am I trapped please?

Thank you very much in advance for any advice you can give.


Not being an employment lawyer I can’t offer any comment as to your remedies for the seemingly intolerable situation you find yourself in.

As regards your employment contract with your current employer I suggest that you contact the Labor Department for some provisional information on how to deal with the problems that you’re facing in that employment.

Or indeed obviously contact an employment lawyer. However, in so far as immigration goes you’re on the pretty much safe ground in so far as if you determine for one reason or another that you wish to cease working for your current employer and you wish to make an application to take up employment with a new employer, then that’s all perfectly doable.

The Immigration Department doesn’t hold you to any particular employer and the employment visa is personable to you. It doesn’t accrue to the employer so your current employer has no means of in a sense holding a gun to your head as regards your ability to stay in Hong Kong due to the fact that you no longer want to work in those intolerable working conditions.

As part and parcel of any employment visa change of sponsorship application for that’s what it would be, you’d have to submit a copy of your resignation letter or possibly a document in writing from your current employer indicating when your exact final date of employment while so that the Immigration Department can demarcate your old employment through to your new employment and adjust the sponsorship of your visa accordingly.

As long as you’re moving from one employment type to a similar employment type that is it’s like for like employment and that the minimum salary and compensation levels are being met under the general employment policy – give or take about sixteen thousand Hong Kong dollars a month. And of course, your new employer, proposed new employer is deemed by the Immigration Department to be a suitable and credible sponsor.

Then in those circumstances, your immigration status should be readily adjustable without too much of a do.

So, no you and you’re not locked into this particular employer and if you want to leave, do so. Address whatever problems you’ve got from the contract perspective through the use of the proper channels. But in so far as immigration goes you’ll be more than capable of making that adjustment if for immigration sponsorship without too many problems at all.

Okay, good luck with it all and I hope you found this useful.

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Nov 2022

What’s the difference between Unconditional Stay and Permanent Residence in Hong Kong?

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Your Question Answered / No responses

This question comes up all the time (and is actually answered on the home page of our Blog) but I am grateful for the opportunity to revisit it again now…


Hi, I’m currently working in Hong Kong with a valid working visa but have been offered a job with another company in Hong Kong.

My work visa expires in July and I must give one month’s notice with my current employer.

 How does it work in terms of obtaining a new work visa for the new employer– do I have to resubmit all of my uni/school certificates etc as I did the first time round?

Do I need to quit my current job and then apply for the new company or can the new company apply for me whilst I’m still working at my current job?

I am worried that if I quit my first job that my 2nd visa will get rejected and then I will be jobless.

Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated, thank you! 


When you secure an employment visa in Hong Kong you are lawfully employable by the employer, which has successfully sponsored an employment visa for you.

Once you stop working for that sponsoring employer in so far as you are continuing employment visa permissions go, in essence, all bets are off until you make an application to the Immigration Department to change your sponsorship from your old employer through to the proposed new employer.

And in preparing for this application, you need to anticipate that it’s a process that’s very similar to the application that you underwent the first time in so far as getting the visa approved for the status that you’ve got right now. And in the Hong Kong visa handbook employment Visa section, I’ve set out the documentary requirements that govern these types of applications, whether it’s a new application or in fact, it’s a change of sponsorship application.

Now the way that the process works is that you go to the Immigration Department with your completely assembled bundle and you file your application to change your sponsorship, without at this point, if this is in fact the case, having stopped working for your present employer. And during the currency of your new employment visa application your current employer really shouldn’t be privy to what’s going on because Immigration Department certainly won’t correspond with your existing employer. All that will happen is that whilst the Immigration Department are considering your application, which by the way happens on the 5th floor resident section, not the 24th floor entry visa section, so on the fifth floor. So whilst the Immigration Department are considering your application, they will correspond with you directly and that they’ll raise any questions or requests for information or other requisitions that apply in the context of the application before you.

And in so far as the chances of approval go, you need to anticipate that as long as it’s a like-for-like employment, and as long as you are clearly a professional under the general employment policy and the new employer is justified in engaging your services as opposed to the services of a local person, then it’s reasonable to assume that you’re change of sponsorship application will be approved. Normally the Immigration Department respond positively to such applications.

Now the way it works once you’ve got nine tenths of the way through the application process, is that you’ll see that the Immigration Department will call for a document from you, that demarcates the date of last employment with your current employer, so that they can then, when they finalize your approval, set a line between your previous sponsorship and your new sponsorship. They will need a line in the sand, as it were, a date from which the new sponsorship obligations of your new employer will prevail and at the same time relinquishing your old employer, your past employer of their continuing sponsorship in relation to you. And it’s when the Immigration Department call for this document that you’ll get a sense that they are about to finalize your application positively. And at that stage, what you do is you submit your resignation and give a copy of the resignation documentation that sits between you and your current employer, which in turn will denote what your final date of employment is with that old employer and you submit copies of that documentation to the Immigration Department and they will then, as I say, be able to demarcate the old sponsorship from the new sponsorship.

Then, after you’ve been approved you should receive a letter from the Immigration Department stating when your new employment arrangement are going to commence from, that is your new sponsorship, employment visa sponsorship arrangements are going to commence from, inviting you down to go and process an extension to your current limit of stay because at the moment you have less than six months left on your current limit of stay. And these circumstances rather than put Immigration Department resources through, on the one hand, a change of sponsorship application and then a few weeks or months later because your current limiter says going to expire, put Immigration Department resources through a second application, in so far as giving you an extension to your current limit of stay. Usually the Immigration Department as I say, if you’ve got six months or less remaining on your current limit of stay, they normally endorse your passport at the same time as they give you the new approval and normally that 12 months limit starts from the expiry of your current limit of stay, which in this instance would be July.

So in effect, that’s how that process is handled and that’s how that process is managed and included on this post are a lot of other resources that I’ve dealt with challenges associated with the change of sponsorship application that you’re looking to accomplish.

And again, I refer you back to the employment visa section of the Hong Kong Visa Handbook where all the documents that you need, checklists, templates and all the rest of that good stuff that will apply in allowing you to go through that process, you can find them all there.

Just to remind you, because you’re an existing resident you would submit the application on the resident section on the fifth floor of Immigration Tower, not on the 24th floor, which is the entry Visa section, which is where applications for the very first time for the employment visas are considered.

Okay. I hope you found this useful.

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Can I use the impending expiry of my Hong Kong work visa as a way to force the early termination of my employment contract?

How can I prove to the Hong Kong Immigration Department my last day of work for my previous employer as part of my change of employment visa sponsorship application?

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Nov 2022

Will Vocational Rather Than Academic Qualifications Satisfy ImmD When Making a Hong Kong Work Visa Application?

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Uncategorized, Your Question Answered / No responses

Is it always absolutely necessary to call upon a university degree qualification in order to get a Hong Kong work visa application approved?



I have found a job here and am now in the process of applying for a Hong Kong work visa.

It is a Quality Assurance position in the garment business.

My qualification  (garment / fashion design) is from a French polytechnique which is vocational and not academic in nature.

I have 20 years of professional experience which I can readily prove with letters of references etc.

Further I am French and hence can speak French which is necessary because my employer is a French joint-venture company.

I heard that an academic degree is necessary for a Hong Kong work visa and that applications can be rejected for that reason.

Is there anything that can be done to maximize the chances to get the Hong Kong work visa all things considered?

In case of a rejection, is there a possibility to apply again?


In order to be deemed a professional for the purposes of the general employment policy in Hong Kong, which is the policy under which the Immigration Department issue employment visas to foreign nationals, there is an expectation that you will be a university degree holder with at least 2 years post-graduation working experience in the managerial or supervisory capacity to expect approval as I say as a professional.

However, on occasion if you don’t have formal degree qualifications but you have something less than a degree, say technical qualifications, then the Immigration Department will accept those technical qualifications in lieu of a degree qualification, if your post qualification working experience is at least 5 years as opposed to 2 under the degree, so that’s 5 years for technical qualifications.

So, given that you appear to have technical qualifications in garment and fashion design, and you have got 20 years of professional experience thereafter, it’s fair to say that the Immigration Department will certainly treat you as a professional for the purposes of the general employment policy, and on the basis that your job offer is coming from a suitable and credible sponsor, and that the compensation that’s being offered to you is broadly commensurate with market rates for a position such as that which has been offered to you, and the amount of experience that you have being commensurate with the pay that you’re receiving again for that work that you’re going to be doing, then the Immigration Department won’t refuse your visa on the strength of the nature of your qualifications in your circumstances, so, I won’t worry about that too much.

And in terms of rejection what I’ve done to answer your question is included a number of links at the bottom of this post which speak to the arrangements that you can follow if unfortunately, your visa doesn’t get approved after you’ve applied for it.

Okay I hope you found that useful.

More Stuff You May Find Interesting or Useful

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I know the Immigration Department website is a black hole for denied Hong Kong visa applicants so what can I do now?


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Nov 2022

Can I Go From a Hong Kong Investment Visa to an Employment Visa and Back to an Investment Visa Again?

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Investment Visas, Your Question Answered / No responses

Entrepreneurship is a fluid beast!



I was on an investment visa for a year when I started my own business and then took on a full time role with another company. 

I was transferred to an employment visa

I am now considering leaving this role and going back to actively work in my business. 

Can I apply for an investment visa for a second time or does it simply get transferred to my own company as an employment visa?


This is a really great question and I’m so grateful to you for asking it.

I have seen this situation probably a dozen times in the last 20 years and in every single instance the Immigration Department have come to the party and have indeed allowed a previous investment visa holder who has then changed status to an employment visa and who then has a change of heart and decides that paid employment is not really for them and they wish to go back to their own business pursuits once more and the Immigration Department have approved these applications as I say. So there’s no reason to suggest that you won’t be successful in your application, too.

The way that you go about it is to effectively treat the application as a change of category application going back from employment visa sponsored by a third-party through to business investment on the strength of your own Enterprise in Hong Kong.

The approvability test is just the same as it always is for an investment visa, that is, in light of your present circumstances given that you once, in a sense, put your business on the shelf while you went off to work for another employer, your business now moving forward, if the Immigration Department allow you to do so, will mean that you can make a substantial contribution to the economy of Hong Kong.

I’ve dealt with the investment visa approvability test ad nauseam elsewhere on the blog, so I’ll let you go and research that and understand effectively what’s required from you to to be successful. But as the essential premise of your investment visa activities were originally approved, it’s certainly feasible to expect that you’ll get approved this time around. You’ll certainly need to have the requisite level of resources. You’re going to have to have a pathway to the creation of local employment opportunities once again, and you’re going to have business premises that are suitable for you and your proposed activities.

The Immigration Department will effectively put you to that test, and I think, as I say, it’s fair for you to be able to pass it. But you’re also going to have to, sort of plug the gap as to kind of what happened, whilst you were an employee in the business, assuming as I mentioned, it was probably on the shelf in the meantime. But talk to the Immigration Department about how you, sort of put the business into deep freeze and that you are now ready to sort of bring it out into the open and go for it one more time.

So, just as I say the key thing is to pass the approvability tests all over again. The fact that you had an investment visa once previously, augers well on the basis that you can explain the gap as to what happened to the business during the time that you were an employee and that on the basis the Immigration Department approve you to join in this business one more time and you can make a substantial contribution to the economy of Hong Kong.

Do it on the fifth floor of immigration tower via a change of category application and you should take between 4 and 6 weeks to finalize. If your current limits of stay has got less than six months on it, use not only the ID 999a application form, use also the ID 91, which will allow the immigration department once they approve, you to grant you an extension to the current limit of stay, by a further year. As I say, assuming that you’ve got less than six months remaining on your current limit of stay then include the ID 91.

Okay. I hope you found this useful.

More Stuff You May Find Useful or Interesting

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The anatomy of a ‘slam dunk’ Hong Kong investment visa approval taking just 7 weeks to approval

Do you have a business plan template I can use in my Hong Kong investment visa application?

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Are there any advantages to being an existing Hong  Kong resident when you make an application for an investment visa?


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