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Hadley Says

How Do You Go About Changing Your Hong Kong Employment Visa Sponsorship at Immigration Tower?

September 2nd, 2017

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Hadley Says…, VG Front Page / 46 responses


If you have left the employ of your current employment visa sponsor, or even just thinking of doing so, you need to undergo what is known as a change of sponsorship application before you start working for anyone else in Hong Kong, including yourself!


To do this you have to consider it just like an entirely new visa application.

Just because you have a stamp in your passport that says ‘employment’ this is not a carte blanche approval to work for just anyone you like or can act on an entrepreneurial seizure without considering the ramifications of unauthorised immigration activity in Hong Kong.

If you are seeking to work for another employer you have to pass the employment visa approvability test.

If you are seeking to work for yourself – or in partnership with someone else – you have to pass the investment visa approvability test.

Complete details on how to do this are contained in the Hong Kong Visa Handbook and elsewhere on the Hong Kong Visa Geeza blog.

To go about changing your Hong Kong employment visa sponsorship you have to submit your application bundle on the 5th floor residents section of Immigration Tower with the correct application forms and expect the process to take between 4 and 8 weeks to complete.

It could very possibly take much longer depending on the strength and quality of your application, the length of time you have been previously resident in Hong Kong and whether or not you have already breached your conditions of stay by taking up an unauthorised employment before realizing that it’s illegal to start your own business or work for any employer other than your current employment visa sponsor.

Remember, there’s no such thing as a ‘flexible’ working visa in Hong Kong.

Every new employment or business activity proposed must be cleared first by the Director of Immigration and you could find yourself in some very hot water if you do not comply with Hong Kong’s immigration laws as ignorance is no defence!

More Stuff to Help You Along

I want to change jobs with a significant reduction in my base salary – how will this impact on my Hong Kong employment visa change of sponsorship application?

What do you need to to do if there has been a change in the details of your Hong Kong employment visa sponsor but no change in your employer?

What happens if you inadvertently breach your conditions of stay by taking up an unauthorised employment in Hong Kong without first applying for a change of visa sponsorship?

I’ve lost my job – what happens to my Hong Kong employment visa?


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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.

  • chitresh

    17 Aug 2023 am31 11:56am

    hi.. i would like to know if my visa is expiry within an year and if i apply for change of sponsorship will my visa auto extend for 3 more years.. ? as there is some period if the visa is going to expiry in that period they extend the visa.. i m not sure its 1 year or 6 month.. can you please confirm on this ?

    • The Visa Geeza

      18 Aug 2023 pm31 1:11pm

      You’ll probably get 2 years with a new employer. Generally the 2 year extension is granted within 1 year of current expiry.

  • Liam

    21 Jul 2023 pm31 7:52pm

    I am currently in Hong Kong with a work visa that expires in October. I have just left my old job and I am applying for a new visa with a new company. Is it best to submit the ID990A form to immigration (the form my new employer has told me to fill out) or should I submit the ID91 extension form?

    • The Visa Geeza

      25 Jul 2023 am31 8:53am

      We always use the ID91, ID990B and the ID990A (for good measure)

  • Phil

    9 Mar 2023 am31 1:11am

    I’ve filed an application for change of employment 3 weeks ago. But I have not received the letter of acknowledgement. Is that normal? And is the file being processed only after I receive the acknowledgement letter?

    • The Visa Geeza

      13 Mar 2023 am31 8:59am

      It might have gotten lost in the mail. Wait 10 days more then go and visit ImmD (24/f) to see if they can track it down.

  • Rishi

    15 Jan 2023 am31 12:55am

    To transfer the current visa to new employer name do I need to get Release letter from previous employer?

    • The Visa Geeza

      4 Feb 2023 am28 8:26am

      You need some proof of the final date of employment. You do not need the permissions (Release) of your prior employer. Generally a copy of the correspondence with your employer setting out the resignation date is sufficient. This assumes you have an employment visa issued under GEP.

  • NH

    2 Jan 2023 am31 11:04am

    I’ve been waiting for a working visa for a Hong Kong English school since September 2022
    Why is it taking so long?

    • The Visa Geeza

      6 Jan 2023 am31 10:47am

      No idea. Could be your employer; could be background checks on you. The National Security Law invoked more stringent checks on foreign national teachers.

  • Mohit K

    17 Nov 2022 am30 9:47am

    My current Visa Expires in February 2023 and my daughter is on dependant visa. In an ideal scenario we both would have applied for extension. However, I am in the middle of change is employment. Once I get the approval- do I need to apply for my daughter’s dependant visa extension separately?

    • The Visa Geeza

      23 Nov 2022 pm30 2:48pm

      Yes. But dont let her depedant status expire before your application is finalised.

  • Andrew

    25 Aug 2022 pm31 7:25pm

    I have submitted my application to change my sponsoring employer. Am I able to travel whilst the visa is being transferred?

    • The Visa Geeza

      4 Sep 2022 am30 11:12am


  • Jeremy

    5 Jun 2022 am30 1:39am

    My work visa expires on the 31th of July and I want to change my employer. When can I start submitting my new visa with my new employer? Does it have to be within 4 weeks of my visa expiration or can it be earlier ?

    • The Visa Geeza

      14 Jun 2022 am30 11:19am

      You can submit at any time after you have received the formal job offer. No need to wait until your present limit of stay expires.

  • Adam

    25 May 2022 pm31 7:07pm

    I have changed the sponsorship recently. Whether my previous employer get any notification from immigration department stating that your current contract will be terminated on particular date ?

    • The Visa Geeza

      1 Jun 2022 pm30 2:23pm


  • SH

    11 Apr 2022 pm30 4:09pm

    I have employment visa of my current employer and if I want to change my employer then my salary should be higher then my current salary or can I change my employment visa in case of lower salary.

    • The Visa Geeza

      27 Apr 2022 am30 8:03am

      It can be lower but no lower than market rates paid to simialr professionals – and you’ll need to justify it in your argument.

  • Sheila

    29 Mar 2022 pm31 12:34pm

    I currently have employment visa and stayed in Hongkong for 5 years and would like to change my visa to dependent visa sponsored by my husband. Would there be any problems on applying for PR after 2 years?

    • The Visa Geeza

      29 Mar 2022 pm31 3:40pm

      No problem at all – just make sure you change over while your present employment visa remains valid.

  • Marcus

    21 Mar 2022 pm31 8:24pm

    Hi, after the application (to change the employment visa sponsor) has been submitted (and the passport has been returned), is it possible to leave HK to travel while the sponsor change is being processed? Or is there a requirement to stay in HK during this process?
    Thank you!

  • Derek

    24 Feb 2022 pm28 2:28pm

    Currently in HK, it’s difficult to get through to the Immigration Dept’s line. The situation is, I have already resigned from my current firm that sponsored my employment Visa. I have recently changed firms and have filed for a Visa change, however I was not able to get a reference ID to check the status as I completed the form and placed it in the drop box as stated.

    I would like to know how is the best way to reach out to the Immigration dept to expedite the process, as my notice period is up and I’m currently not allowed to work till I get the Visa approved. Thanks for your reply I would appreciate that.

    • The Visa Geeza

      1 Mar 2022 am31 10:06am

      Hello – under present ImmD WFH arrangements it is very difficult to reach ImmD officers. Normally you would email their email address with your file reference number. Without a reference number however you just have to sit tight until you receive one in the mail or otherwise hear from the officer eventually tasked with your file. Expediting I’m afraid is a bit of a tall order with ImmD at sixes and sevens I’m afraid.

  • L

    31 Dec 2021 am31 2:25am

    Can you continue to work for your current visa sponsor during the notice period or do you have to wait until the sponsorship has been transferred to the new employer ?

    • The Visa Geeza

      10 Jan 2022 am31 11:54am

      You must wait until your application to change sponsor has been approved.

  • Jack

    6 Dec 2021 pm31 7:42pm


    I’d like to hire someone in our Hong Kong office to work in our IT Department. He’s been living and working in Hong Kong for 9 years and he already has an employment visa which is due to run out in 2023. What steps do I need to take to transfer his visa sponsorship, how long does this take, and what is the cost?

    Thanks in advance,

  • DP

    28 Mar 2021 pm31 2:16pm

    ” Your spouse’s dependent visa is not impacted by your own change of employer/sponsorship arrangements”
    On similar note – if employer changes and Visa transfer is initiated, what about the dependent visa of family ( Wife and Children )

    • The Visa Geeza

      29 Mar 2021 am31 10:37am

      No impact.

  • mary

    22 Dec 2020 pm31 4:58pm

    I dont know how to ask questions here but if someone can answer me correctly…
    if your in hongkong working as a domestic helper
    then after 4 yrs I found a new job but not a dh
    is there a possible way that I can apply to another job such as hotel management, dishwasher, waiter… there any one can answer me please thank you.

    • The Visa Geeza

      29 Dec 2020 pm31 12:07pm

      No it’s impossible. The best you can do is to change to a dependent visa if you married a HK resident.

  • MM

    23 Jul 2020 am31 9:54am


    Let me brief my scenario before my question. I am working with some employer in Hong Kong and they separated there IT section with some other company name and transferring my employer in visa, so in that case do i also need to transfer my sponsor(wife) visa also which is sponsored by myself if yes then what would be the procedure?.

    Thanks & Regards

    • The Visa Geeza

      27 Jul 2020 am31 11:09am

      Your spouse’s dependent visa is not impacted by your own change of employer/sponsorship arrangements.

  • chantelle

    15 Jun 2020 am30 11:09am

    What forms do I need to fill out when doing my change of sponsorship application?
    Do I need to fill out the ID91 extension of stay?

    • The Visa Geeza

      15 Jun 2020 pm30 12:18pm

      This information is dealt with extensively on our websites. Use form ID91


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