Hong Kong Visas Made Easy


Apr 2012

Realistically, What is the Minimum Number of Points for a Shot at a QMAS Approval?

Posted by / in Special Programmes, Your Question Answered / 12 responses

The Quality Migrant Admission Scheme attracts a lot of interest from the Asian subcontinent, ostensibly because of the ‘if-you-don’t-try-you’ll-never-know’  nature of the programme along with the facts that it costs next to nothing in official fees to apply (compared with, say, Australia where you seemingly have to mortgage your first born in fees to the government even to put an application into the system).


“Mr Barnes, I got to know about your company through some discussions on immigration thread.

Let me introduce myself, am Chirag, 52 years, from Mumbai, India.

Have experience of around 15+ years in areas of marketing/advertising/sales/business development.

Would like to know if I would qualify for QMAS visa.

I have already done the free assessment for visa. I scored 90 points. Details are:

Age – 0 points

Qualifications-bachelor/professional qualification – 30 points  (secured First Class Degree from Mumbai University; also have post-graduate diploma in marketing & sales management).

Experience – 50 points  (my experience of 15 years in the above field).

Language proficiency – 10 points (IELTS exam, band 6.

I would like to know, what are my chances in getting a visa.

I wish to use your services.”


Hello Chirag,

With only 90 points it would appear unlikely that you will receive approval under the QMAS programme.

Our policy is to advise clients to have a minimum of 125 point to be in the running. It is a very competitive Scheme with over 100 applicants each month.

However, if you don’t apply you will never know, but with just 90 points I’m afraid we would be reluctant to accept your case as we would not wish for you to waste your money on our fees when we simply don’t have a strong sense that you would be approved.

In this respect I would advise you to follow the free advice contained in the Hong Kong Visa Handbook, starting with the Visa Information material.

May I wish you the best of luck in your application.

More Stuff You May Find Interesting Or Useful

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Why I hate the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (and you should too!)

Is the Hong Kong QMAS programme just too competitive to be realistic?

The visa dilemma of an unmarried trailing partner seeking to work in Hong Kong

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Apr 2012

Hong Kong Employment Visa Self-Sponsorship – the Reality for Entrepreneurs Dressed as Employees

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Hadley Says…, Investment Visas / 2 responses

If you are an entrepreneur seeking permissions to join in your own business in Hong Kong, you can’t fudge the issue of the ownership of your own business

No matter how you dress it up, the Hong Kong Immigration Department will treat you as an entrepreneur-investor if your company is less than 2 years old or if you are a shareholder in the business.

There’s simply no getting around it.

Even if you make like you’re just an employee the HKID will apply the investment visa approvability test in any event so they’ll be looking not so much as your special skills knowledge and experience (even though these are important) but at your ability to make a substantial contribution to the economy of Hong Kong.

A much more onerous test for approval.

More Stuff to Help You Along

Statistically, what are the chances of your Hong Kong investment visa being approved?

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

Why do Hong Kong investment visa applications get denied?

The ImmD are out to refuse – not approve – visa applications (aren’t they?)

10 must have resources for any Hong Kong investment visa application

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Apr 2012

Hong Kong Employment & Same Sex Partner Visas – A Joint Application Strategy

Posted by / in Case Study, Employment Visas, Family Visas / 14 responses

 Our clients were a same sex partner couple from Australia.

Susan was a Forex trader working for a boutique trading concern in Sydney and her Life Partner, Judith, owned and operated a small graphics design firm.

Susan was a senor executive in her employer’s organisation and had been tasked with relocating to Hong Kong to establish a new satellite operation in the HKSAR. Judith was planning to accompany Susan for the duration of her relocation which was scheduled to last 3 years.

There were three immigration challenges associated with this particular project:

1 – The business was to be newly established, meaning that the Hong Kong Immigration Department (“HKID”) would have to understand the bona fides of the business from scratch as the sponsor-employer had no previous immigration profile.

2 – The business would be subject to strict SFC licensing conditions which would impact on the timing and availability of visa permissions for Susan.

3 – As non-traditional family, Judith would not be allowed a dependent visa which meant that special focus would have to be placed on the nature of the Life Partnership which Judith and Susan enjoyed to enable a prolonged visitor visa for Judith to accompany Susan during her secondment to Hong Kong.

This necessitated three considerable sets of documentation challenges.

We had to closely coordinate with the blue chip law firm instructed to attend to the corporate establishment and SFC licensing applications, thereby ensuring the new Hong Kong business as employer-sponsor would be able to pass muster with the HKID.

We worked directly with Susan in gathering together the requisite information on her current employer in Australia, for, as an inter-company transferee moving to a newly established business in the HKSAR, the Immigration Department would look closely at the bona fides of the Australian parent operation and take comfort from that profile to be satisfied that, indeed, the newly established business in Hong Kong would essentially be of the same ilk and calibre.

We also worked directly with Judith who managed the exercise of compiling the documentation substantiating the profoundly committed, loving nature of her relationship with Susan AND the fact that her business in Australia would carry on during their stay together in Hong Kong providing an independent means for Judith to contribute to the cost of their joint lives even though Susan would be serving the role of financial guarantor and sponsor for Judith’s residence here.

Given the relatively sophisticated nature of the situation and the very personal, professional qualities of Susan and Judith themselves, the exercise of gathering the documentation was quite straightforward. However, three point to note can be made:

A– The successful SFC licensing of both Susan and the new company in Hong Kong was a necessary pre-condition for visa approval ultimately.

This means that the processes leading to these licenses had to commence BEFORE the application was submitted and expectations set that visas would be granted AFTER the consents had been finalised. It is unreasonable to expect the HKID to authorise employment for unlicensed businesses.

B – There was a chicken and egg type quality to this situation as the SFC license could only be granted to a person with requisite Hong Kong immigration permissions and visas could only be granted where SFC licensing was in place.

Careful timing and coordination of the application paperwork and interactions with the HKID ensured that this conundrum was ultimately overcome.

C – As it happened Judith and Susan each owned their own homes in Australia, although they had lived together in one of them for several years.

Consequently, they were unable to show to the HKID joint property ownership or a residential tenancy in both of their names.

However, they had appointed each other as the sole beneficiaries in their mutual wills some time previously and this fact, together with an array of other documentation which spoke to their obvious current cohabitation, family support for their relationship and Australia tax returns each indicating the other as in receipt of certain family tax benefits, served to overcome this lacuna in their paperwork.

Needless to say, both cases were approved, Susan got her employment visa and Judith her prolonged visitor visa.

More Stuff to Help You Along

Is it better to apply for an employment visa before or after you arrive in Hong Kong?

I have an employment visa and I want to bring my girlfriend to Hong Kong – options please?

The Visa Geeza on RTHK Radio 3

10 Must Have resources for a same sex partner visa application

Understanding the procedure for a same sex partner visa application

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Apr 2012

Losing Your Right of Abode in Hong Kong & Then Using eChannels

Posted by / in Long Stay & PR, Your Question Answered / 6 responses


“Can I ask a simple question – do you know of anyone (not Chinese) who has actually lost the right of abode after 36 months absence?

I do know the theory and the provisions in the Ordinance but how about in practice?

I ask because my (Australian) daughter may have lost hers after 38 months absence but how will the loss manifest itself if she arrives say, tomorrow, and tries to enter through the e gate?

I have to tell you that my (New Zealand) husband was informed a while ago that he (not a PR) had lost his unconditional stay status after an absence of 14 months.

He had to enter on his passport. But a few days later he went to Shenzhen using his ID card to leave and then successfully re-entered with his ID card! And now clearly still has unconditional stay!

It seems reality does not always follow the rules.”


More Stuff You May Find Interesting or Useful

Redundancy – the process pitfalls of an expiring Hong Kong employment visa

Is it better to apply for your visa before or after you move to Hong Kong?

I’ve lost my job. What about my employment visa – will I get kicked out of Hong Kong?

10 Must Have resources for a successful Hong Kong permanent residency application

Will I still qualify for the right of abode if I worked temporarily in Macau yet lived in Hong Kong for the full 7 years?


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Apr 2012

Hong Kong Employment Visa – Do You Need a Degree?

Posted by / in 60 Second Snapshot, Employment Visas / No responses

No, you don’t always need a degree to get an employment visa for Hong Kong.

Definitely not!

But instead, you have to have a lot of experience in your particular line of work.

The Hong Kong Immigration Department are looking for special skills, knowledge or experience of value to and not readily available in Hong Kong. Not just a degree!

It’s really all about ‘human capital’ and keeping Hong Kong’s economy competitive.

If you genuinely have talent and experience, it doesn’t matter whether you have letters after your name or not!

More Stuff to Help You Along

Is there such an animal as a ‘flexible working visa’ for Hong Kong?

Is it actually getting harder to get a Hong Kong employment or investment visa approved?

Sometimes even large employers experience Hong Kong employment visa refusals – why might this be so?

What you should NOT do when extending your Hong Kong employment visa

10 Must Have resources for a successful Hong Kong working visa application

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Mar 2012

A Detailed Business Plan for Your Hong Kong Investment Visa? – Not Really…

Posted by / in Investment Visas, Musing, VG Front Page / 1 response

I always stifle a chuckle when I read on the websites of professional service providers offering a Hong Kong visa and immigration product that there is a need for a ‘detailed business plan’ in each and every Hong Kong investment visa application.

It’s simply not true.

Certainly, every applicant for an investment visa needs to have a ‘planned business’ but it certainly doesn’t follow that, in order to get an approval, the Hong Kong Immigration Department insist on seeing a formal business plan as such.

This is an important point because so many investment visa applicants that come our way have written up at least a basic document which sets out how they see their business playing out over the first couple of years. This is just good planning.

These raw documents cannot properly be said to be formal business plans (as in a 60 page document with extremely detailed all-scenarios-covered projections, risk factors, use of funds, competitor analyses, IP policies and the like).

Most entrepreneurs starting out for the first time wouldn’t know where to begin in crafting a document like that.

However, this documented material does provide the essential elements of the argument underpinning the investment visa application and is an absolute gold mine of information for an immigration consultant who is skilled at articulating an investment proposition in the context of current Hong Kong immigration policy.

When called for by non-specialist immigration practitioners, a formal business plan just puts an added documentation burden on the client and relieves the service provider of the need to properly argue the case.

Don’t let them get away with it!

You pay good money to consultants like me to get your investment visa approved so make us earn our keep. Most definitely have your plans, intentions and money flows written down, but the HKID no more want to read a 60 page business plan in support of your application, than you want to write one.

More Stuff to Help You Along

How extensive should my business plan be in order to get a Hong Kong investment visa?

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

How to ensure you’re not breaking the law by operating a business in Hong Kong as a Visitor

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

Why do Hong Kong investment visas get denied?

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Jan 2012

You Accidentally Overstay Your Hong Kong Employment Visa Yet Need to Change Employer – What Happens Now?

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Your Question Answered / 2 responses

First Published February 8, 2015

Accidentally overstay your Hong Kong employment visa?- What happens to you when  seek to change your employment visa sponsor but realise you have accidentally let your current visa expire without seeking an extension of stay?



Hi Stephen,

I ended my employment in Hong Kong at the beginning of January.

I looked for work and eventually found and got offered a job, still in Hong Kong, to start in March.

I thought everything was going well. I went in on the 1st of February to sort out the application for the work visa, and they sit me down…

They told me my previous work visa had expired on the 24th of January.

Now, this shocked me. In all the searching and transition to the new job I had completely forgotten to check my old visa.

I had come back after Christmas and assumed I was on a Visitor visa, or that my Employment visa hadn’t run out, because I was allowed back in after my return at Xmas.

I hadn’t checked. This is totally my fault and my mistake, I had completely forgotten.

My new company told me to go straight to Immigration, present myself, put in my new visa application with profuse apologies and explain myself.

I did that, they shouted at me threatening imprisonment.

I had to write a letter to the Director of Immigration explaining what happened.

I did all this, and afterwards the Officer said that was all for today and that they would send a letter to my company in 4-6 weeks.

They let me go with my passport and Hong Kong ID Card, and in my passport is a card with an application reference.

I have no idea what happens now.

They didn’t stamp my passport to allow me to leave the country, so I can’t go and return as a Visitor.

I am here with no visa, and I’m worried that if my work visa is denied, or I am stopped in the meantime, they will imprison me because I stayed here even longer.

No one at my new company is concerned, either because they don’t care or they don’t know. They are backing me and want me to work for them, but that’s it.

So, in your experience, what could happen now? What can I do to find out? How can I protect myself?

More Stuff You May Find Useful or Interesting

How a Hong Kong employment visa application can go completely wrong if you don’t know what you are doing

10 ‘Must Have’ resources for a successful Hong Kong work visa application

Will a criminal record impact on your ability to get a residence visa for Hong Kong?

Can you have 2 employment visa applications for Hong Kong pending at the same time?

I hate my boss and want to leave my job – what happens to my Hong Kong work visa?


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