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Can You Hold a Hong Kong Employment Visa Yet Be Unemployed, Travel & (Even) Work Abroad for An Extended Period of Time Yet Still Qualify for the Right of Abode Here After 7 Years?

April 13th, 2022

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Long Stay & PR, Your Question Answered / 2 responses


First Published September 22, 2017

Is it possible to hold an employment visa, not work for your sponsoring employer and travel, live and possibly even work outside of Hong Kong through to the 7 years qualification mark and still qualify for the right of abode?


Hi Stephen,

I have a question regarding Hong Kong right of abode (permanent residency).

I have been working and living in the HKSAR for >5 years and my current employment visa allows me to stay till mid 2020 (by when I will have been in Hong Kong for almost 8 years).

I am planning to do some travels and short term studies around the world in the next year or so, or if any suitable opportunities arise, take on a full-time job somewhere outside of Hong Kong.

It won’t be a problem for me to come through Hong Kong every once in a while (say at least once every six months), but I wonder if the status of unemployment (despite an effective work visa) and limited time spent within Hong Kong could break my 7-year qualification for the application for right of abode?

What if I keep renting an apartment here – would this count towards ordinary residence?

Thanks so much in advance! Appreciate your kind help.

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The Hong Kong Visa Geeza (a.k.a Stephen Barnes) is a co-founder of the Hong Kong Visa Centre and author of the Hong Kong Visa Handbook. A law graduate of the London School of Economics, Stephen has been practicing Hong Kong immigration since 1993 and is widely acknowledged as the leading authority on business immigration matters here for the last 24 years.

  • Kumar

    8 Jan 2016 am31 10:06am


    I had come to HK in March 2010 on employment visa & my present HK visa is valid until March 2018.

    Please advise if in case, I decide to quit job before completing 7 years in HK (i.e. March 2017) or decide to start business or remain unemployed before completing 7 years but continue to stay in HK as I have valid HK visa until March 2018, then I am still eligible to apply for HK PR on completion of 7 years in March 2017 and get HK PR.

    Can I continue to stay in HK (as I have valid HK visa until March 2018), even if my employer cancels my employment visa if I decide to quit before getting PR in March 2017.


    • The Visa Geeza

      11 Jan 2016 am31 11:11am

      Yes, you can stay in HK until your current limit of stay expires and that will amount to ordinary residence. However, you CANNOT take up any alternate employment or start you own business on the employment visa sponsored by your last employer. You MUST seek to apply to adjust your employment visa sponsorship to a new employer or change your visa category to a business investment visa BEFORE you engage in either of these alternate employments.


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