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I Have Lived in Hong Kong for 5 Years. Can I Extend My Work Visa for 2 Years, Quit My Job, Study Full-Time, then Apply for RoA?

June 2nd, 2021

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Long Stay & PR, Your Question Answered / 8 responses


First Published October 9, 2012

Whilst the implementation of Hong Kong immigration policy is essentially very flexible, as an employment visa holder, until you have gone on to receive the right of abode (RoA) or unconditional stay after seven years continuous ordinary residence, your permissions to remain in Hong Kong are governed very tightly. I am grateful to this questioner for providing an opportunity to have a discussion about ‘strategic immigration status management’ through to the point where it is possible to make an application for permanent residency in the HKSAR.


“Thanks for being so helpful, your posts are very useful. I have 2 questions:

 1) If my visa is expiring in 31 April 2013 and the company extends it 15 March 2013 which gets approved (before the original visas expiry date, i.e. approval on 30 March 2013) to extend until April 2015 – what happens if I quit before the original visa’s expiry date (but my extension has already been approved)? Am I allowed to stay in HK until 2015?

 2) If my visa is expiring 31 April 2015, and I decide to quit, can I apply for university courses or a degree course on the employment visa that I am on or do I need to re-apply for a student visa (end date of the course does not surpass the visa expiration date)?

Does this educational period count towards Right of Abode?”

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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.

  • Rohit

    8 Aug 2019 am31 11:52am

    I have a slightly similar situation like this one. Worked in HK for almost 5.5 years, then relocated to another country for employment. My work permit at the time of leaving was still valid which would’ve allowed me PR status if I stayed for another 1.5 years in HK. My work permit was effectively for 8 years (1+2+2+3 route) without any break (I left after 5.5 years).

    I moved back to HK after 18 months away (work permit still valid). During my “away” period, I was visiting HK (no break for six months or more) using my still valid work permit. When I moved back with a new employment, I have a new visa which gives me another two years.

    Given this, am I eligible to apply for a PR status? I understand this may not be the easiest way but want to evaluate the options.


    • The Visa Geeza

      13 Aug 2019 pm31 12:57pm

      I’ve answered this question offline.

  • Joe

    22 Nov 2012 pm30 2:25pm

    Is there a flexible work visa in Hong Kong? Because we are going to employ someone from Australia, and he said he had a work visa sponsor. But he is free to work for anyone in Hong Kong. But we need to give a service charge to his work sponsor. Is there such visa arrangement in Hong Kong?


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