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QOTW: Can I Get An Employment Visa Again If I Still Owe Taxes From The Last Time I Worked In Hong Kong?

March 15th, 2024

Posted by / in Case Study, Employment Visas, Your Question Answered / No responses


Employment Visa Again

What is the interplay between unpaid taxes and a Hong Kong employment visa application subsequently?



I worked in Hong Kong last year, 2013, and left the city mid year after my work terminated.

When I left, my company filed a IR56G “leaving Hong Kong” tax form for me with the IRD.

However, I never followed up to see how much remainder taxes I owed for salary in 2013.

Now, I have just received an offer to come back to Hong Kong and the employer will be applying for a work visa for me.

Will my visa have difficulty being approved if I may have IRD payments to make?

I do not wish to delay my work visa from being approved. 


Whilst this is really a question that relates to tax and not immigration as such, there is a slight interplay between the two; effectively, you’re supposed to clear all outstanding taxation obligations if you’re a foreign national and you are leaving Hong Kong ostensibly permanently. Your employer does have certain obligations in relation to reporting the fact of your departure and then holding on to your last salary to again clear up any potential taxation obligations that sit in your hands as a result of your time spent working here previously. If that was never cleared up then you will still have an open file with the Inland Revenue Department and given that you’re now effectively wanting to come back to Hong Kong, notwithstanding the fact that there will be an immigration dimension to this, you really should clear up your taxes – approach the Inland Revenue Department, explain what’s going on and submit yourself for assessment.

Whatever the bill is, pay it, and then you can rest assured that the Immigration Department won’t be effectively looking at your application for a new employment visa through the lens of not having paid your taxes previously.

In a nutshell, get it sorted out so that it doesn’t have an impact at all on your new visa application. Good luck!

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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.



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