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Is It Ever OK to Work in Hong Kong on a Visitor Visa?

November 6th, 2022

Posted by / in Employment Visas, VG Front Page, Visitor Visas, Your Question Answered / 15 responses


First Published September 22, 2021

Is it ever OK to work in Hong Kong on a visitor visa?


You would assume, quite reasonably, that if the Hong Kong Immigration Department advised you that is was OK to come to Hong Kong as a visitor and work, then that would be kosher, right?


In this question, it is more than apparent there have been cross-wires in the preparations for these professionals to come to Hong Kong and it’s time to sort things out – and quickly!


“My client has 2 employees who arrived in Hong Kong on a visitor visa with a view to then undertaking employment for the company.

They are professionals (engineers) so not sure which scheme would be best to apply under.  Apparently, they were advised by the Hong Kong Immigration Department that the easiest way to enter Hong Kong and commence work was to enter on a visitor visa.

The visitor visas run out in December 1 but I understand they have been working whilst on a visitor visa which I said I did not think was allowed? 

They are now at the point where they have to apply for an extension / employment visa.  I have advised (using your helpful information!) of the process for applying for the employment visa.  However, for some reason, our client thinks they can just apply to extend the visitor visa and the employees can continue to work? I’m sure this isn’t correct.

Also, on Form 990A, they have queried what to detail where it says section 2 – proposed date of entry and proposed period of stay.  They are currently in Hong Kong so what would the proposed date of entry be?”

UPDATE: ShortTerm Employment As A Visitor

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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.

  • Chotrelhu

    3 Sep 2021 am30 10:10am

    H! I’ve applied for Hong Kong PR with the following timeline:

    23 Jul – Submitted application online (applied 1 month before 7yrs complete on Aug 22)

    1st week Aug – Received acknowledgement letter & letter asking to upload (1) ROP146, (2) passport scan within 2 weeks. Letters dated 27,28 Jul respectively

    5 Aug – Uploaded 3 things: (1) ROP 146, (2) Passport 1st+Last Pages scans, and (3) all HK-Visa sticker scans
    (I read on some online forums that if your case is straightforward with no gaps in the 7 yrs, then better to not upload lots of documents because it may slow down the process because they are going through all the extra information provided)

    19 Aug – Got nervous due to lack of response so decided to upload a lot of “proof” documents to support my case
    (1) University offer letter & graduation certificate
    (2) Tax returns & receipts for the 3 years I worked after graduating
    (3) Bank statement first page for 7 years showing my address

    22 Aug – The day I completed 7 yrs in Hong Kong

    As of today, 3 Sep, the online status has remained “Processing” throughout all this time. My question is: should I visit immigration tower or email them or call them to see what’s going on? I’d be happy to do that if it will cause them to process faster.

    On the other hand, the acknowledgement letter I received did say “Please refrain from making enquiries to the officer in charge of your case about the progress of the application unless it is absolutely necessary, as it may delay the processing of the application”. I have no idea why an enquiry would cause a delay, but this sentence is making me double think whether a visit/email/call is a good idea. What are your thoughts?

    • The Visa Geeza

      5 Sep 2021 pm30 2:22pm

      Wait until ImmD contact you. Visiting them will not speed matters up and only interfere with their work.

  • HH

    9 Mar 2021 pm31 8:19pm

    Good day,

    Is it ok to:
    1. Apply to a Educational English Centre
    2. Have the interview
    3. Be accepted
    4. Begin and submit the working visa application forms
    And while this process it in motion, work for the centre?
    I started working in November 2020, worked while waiting for my visa but after three months still no visa. Am I liable for a fine or emprisonment ?


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