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60 Second Snapshot'

I Hate My Boss & Want to Leave My Job – What About My Work Visa for Hong Kong?

August 21st, 2012

Posted by / in 60 Second Snapshot, Employment Visas / 13 responses


In actual fact, your employment visa permissions belong to you, not your employer as they are just the sponsor of your immigration status, not the final arbiter of whether you can remain in Hong Kong or not.

Only the Hong Kong Immigration Department hold this power.

If you find your position with your employer untenable and determine to leave your job, effectively, your permission to work ceases at the point of you terminating your employment, but your consents to reside in Hong Kong continue until the Immigration Department tell you otherwise OR your current limit of stay expires.

Consequently, you should write to the HKID and advise them of the change in your circumstances and at the same time let them know about your new intentions in the wake of leaving your job.

It is lawful activity to look for an alternate employer under this scenario, as is interviewing and accepting an offer of employment. But it is NOT lawful to start working for a new employer until you have secured the permission of the HKID to take up that new employment.

To go on to get these permissions, you to make an application to change your employment visa sponsor, which should 4 – 6 weeks to complete after you have submitted your application in light of your new offer of employment.

However, it is important not to assume that your application will automatically be approved as you still need to pass the employment visa approvability test in respect of that alternate employment and for all practical purposes the Immigration Department will treat such an application as an entirely new one.

More Stuff to Help You Along

Does your employer control your immigration destiny in Hong Kong?

Can the sponsor of your employment visa hold your residence to ransom?

What happens to your Hong Kong employment visa when you lose your job?


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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.

  • Wendy

    10 Apr 2021 pm30 11:51pm

    Hi if I am to quit without a job and then my right of stay expire next year, do I have auto right to continue residing in Hk till the date the visa expire?

    Or do I have to make a trip down to visa immigration to tell them I have quit and am currently unemployed? Then they will change my work visa to a tourist visa?

  • Gisele

    13 Sep 2020 am30 10:09am

    Hi, I am currently unemployed and my HK visa will expire by end of next year. Just double checking that I still allowed to travel in and out as a HK resident before that. Thanks!

  • Rosie

    10 Feb 2020 pm29 4:32pm

    Hello – just checking if this response is still valid today (given it’s been 7.5 years since the original response was written). I am in a similar situation to the above where I have quit my job without having another job to go to. However I was told that if I get a new job before my current limit of stay expires (December 2020), then my employment visa would be treated as a ‘transfer’ not a new application, and would take less time (1-2 weeks). Is this correct? Thanks!

    • The Visa Geeza

      11 Feb 2020 pm29 12:54pm

      Yes correct.

  • Sammy

    22 Aug 2012 pm31 10:47pm

    you say “but your consents to reside in Hong Kong continue until the Immigration Department tell you otherwise OR your current limit of stay expires ”
    in which circunstances could HKID ask you to leave HK ? are there some category of people allowed to keep their privilege to reside untill the end of their visa, and some people not allowed to do so ?
    thank you, as always

    • The Visa Geeza

      23 Aug 2012 am31 7:47am

      Some types of employment visas are issued with the directive of maximum 14 days stay after an employment terminates but this is a specific condition of visa grant and is printed on the visa label. Under the General Employment Policy some chefs and (on occasion) language teachers are subject to this condition (as are Foreign Domestic Helpers and workers admitted under the Supplementary Labour Scheme).


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