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Entry Employment Visa & Employment Visa Extension of Stay Applications Significantly Delayed Amid General Tightening Up All Quarters

October 24th, 2019

Posted by / in Musing / 12 responses


It’s inevitable really.

Photo Credit: RTHK

By any view of social media over these last 12 weeks it is clear that unlawful acts by certain parties in favour of the aims of ‘the movement’ has commanded broad and general support from within a certain demographic of the population (both local Chinese and foreign national alike.)

In the last 2 weeks or so I have been asked to advise on or have had reported to me the following ‘extraordinary’ visa application and Immigration Department enforcement scenarios:

(1) Routine employment visa extension of stay applications which usually complete in one day are now being treated ‘by letter’ meaning that ImmD are not treating such extensions as merely administrative but are undertaking more extensive background checks under the security component of the General Employment Policy.

(2) Routine employment visa applications for foreign national teachers are now taking so long to finalize that the start of School term will be missed (an absolute no-no in normal times).

(3) Continuing ImmD raids on F+B premises, seeking to ensure that all foreigners working there are doing so lawfully.

(4) Stringent assessment of frequent visitors here tending to stay more than 180 days cumulatively in Hong Kong over a 12 month period.

Amongst other murmurs…

After 26 years of practice, I can only conclude that ImmD are seeking to ferret out foreign nationals who have openly supported unlawful acts of any kind during these troubled times and then seek to deny them continuing access to the HKSAR.

Social media can be both a blessing and a curse it seems.


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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.

  • Vand

    17 Mar 2020 pm31 12:48pm

    Is this still the case or have wait times decreased again? Thanks in advance.

    • The Visa Geeza

      23 Mar 2020 am31 10:21am

      Waiting times just got longer again with the new edict for civil servants to work from home again.

  • Joe

    6 Sep 2019 pm30 2:39pm

    How many weeks will I have to wait for a GEP visa application to be approved?

    • The Visa Geeza

      11 Sep 2019 am30 10:54am

      up to 12 weeks.

  • Vern Davidson

    31 Aug 2019 am31 7:39am

    Thanks for the heads up as mine is due for renewal in November. If visa renewal forms and docs have been submitted but the current visa expires before the renewal is granted/completed, will that cause problems for me? How long ahead should I begin the renewal process? Thanks in anticipation of your quality advice and input.

    • The Visa Geeza

      4 Sep 2019 pm30 3:19pm

      Apply 4 weeks before. Should be all done in good time. Thanks for your kind words.

  • Sydney

    27 Aug 2019 pm31 10:27pm

    Thanks for this information. The new moves are horrible. Have there been changes in the documents required to be submitted?

    • The Visa Geeza

      29 Aug 2019 pm31 1:47pm

      No – it just takes much longer.

  • Hannah

    23 Aug 2019 pm31 2:40pm

    Hi, I have now been waiting for my visa for 2 and a half months. I originally submit my visa mid June but protests seem to have peaked from that time and since then, I was requested more documentation by the 6th week of waiting and since submission of the requested documents, have not heard back still (4 weeks from today). Could this be a negative sign or just a result of the current situation?

    • The Visa Geeza

      29 Aug 2019 pm31 2:01pm

      Current situation. All is delayed. Security checks extensive now.

    • Sophie

      15 Jan 2020 pm31 10:46pm

      Hello Hannah,

      Now i’m having same problem.. did you get your visa? Hope everything turned well!


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