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How Can I Get A Visa & Work Legally In Hong Kong?

May 7th, 2024

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Visitor Visas, Your Question Answered / 4 responses


This is the question most often asked of my profession really…

Work Legally in Hong Kong



I was a sponsored by my uncle’s company for 2 years then we had an argument and I left.

Now I’m holding a visitor visa.

For 6 months I’ve sent my resume to more employers than I can count but when it comes to the visa they say “We will call you back”.

I’m from Zimbabwe, 24 years old, graduated from a Tourism and Hotels University and I’ve a girlfriend from Hong Kong for more than 2 years and we actually live together but we won’t get married for the visa also  I’m not ready.

So, how do you suggest I go about getting a work visa again?

Thank you so much for your time.


Yes, it’s unfortunate you find yourself in this situation because, as you’ve discovered, many employers in Hong Kong find the idea of negotiating the labyrinth of an employment visa application for a foreign national just to be all too much to bear given that there is essentially no certainty of outcome.

And then there’s always the time that it takes for the visa application to place itself out before you’ll be lawfully employable and able to start your work. So it’s very difficult for me to be able to say to you that there is any sort of shortcut as regards this; the reality is, as you know, that you need to have a job offer to be able to at least promulgate an application for an employment visa, unless you use one of the other immigration statuses such as the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme or the Capital Investment Entrance Scheme, that will avail you of immigration permissions in Hong Kong so that you can take up employment without needing to deal with the visa question.

But being a graduate in hospitality, I suspect that the idea of being a quality migrant is probably too much in your situation, given the way that the Immigration Department are looking for top notch talent under that immigration programme, and under the capital investment entrance scheme, which is certainly available to you if you’ve got the necessary means and that’s a minimum of HKD10 million to lock into qualifying investment asset classes, it would seem that that might be beyond your reach as well.

Therefore, really the only pathway into employment in Hong Kong without the requirement for formal immigration permissions, at least initially, is if you go to Hong Kong University and in your instance get a master’s degree and get a student visa to allow you to carry out that course, which may take a year or two depending on the programme. And then once you’ve graduated from the Hong Kong University with your new master’s degree, you can enter the workforce for the first twelve months under the Immigration Arrangements for Non-Local Graduates (IANG). That effectively mean that you can just take up any employment once you’ve got the IANG stamp in your passport, which is a rubber stamping exercise in actual fact, as a fresh graduate, and that will then see you with a pathway into an employer. And, at the end of that first year, the extension that you will need is subject only to you showing that you’ve been employed in a job that is commensurate with your qualifications and the compensation is broadly commensurate with what is paid locally; and that is really the only clear pathway that I can see you getting into employment again without the engagement of an employer who is prepared to sponsor your employment visa. That, or as you are clearly in a loving, committed relationship with your girlfriend, you do, as you have identified, determined to get married, and thereupon you’ll be able to get a dependent visa; however, as you, I would never countenance the idea of marriage for immigration purposes, so it’s not recommended.

I’m sorry the news isn’t great, but that just seems to be about the maximum extent of your opportunities, I’m afraid.

I wish you all the very best.

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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.

  • Dina

    20 Apr 2021 am30 9:59am

    What is the best way or tge fastest way to go to hongkong now, fiance or spouse visa and how long does it take to process or get your visa? And it is best if we got married already? My sponsor is at hongkong right now and I’m at tge Philippines right now. Thank you for your response.

    • The Visa Geeza

      26 Apr 2021 am30 11:47am

      There is no fiancé visa. You will need to marry in the Phils as you cannot visit HK to get married presently. Then apply for the dependant visa after marriage. It’s a 6 week application process for the dependant visa.


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