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Your Questions Answered

What’s the difference between Unconditional Stay and Permanent Residence in Hong Kong?

January 29th, 2019

Posted in Employment Visas, The Hong Kong Visa Geeza, Your Question Answered /


 

This question comes up all the time (and is actually answered on the home page of our Blog) but I am grateful for the opportunity to revisit it again now…

QUESTION

Hi, I’m currently working in Hong Kong with a valid working visa but have been offered a job with another company in Hong Kong.

My work visa expires in July and I must give one month’s notice with my current employer.

 How does it work in terms of obtaining a new work visa for the new employer– do I have to resubmit all of my uni/school certificates etc as I did the first time round?

Do I need to quit my current job and then apply for the new company or can the new company apply for me whilst I’m still working at my current job?

I am worried that if I quit my first job that my 2nd visa will get rejected and then I will be jobless.

Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated, thank you! 

ANSWER

When you secure an employment visa in Hong Kong you are lawfully employable by the employer, which has successfully sponsored an employment visa for you.

Once you stop working for that sponsoring employer in so far as you are continuing employment visa permissions go, in essence, all bets are off until you make an application to the Immigration Department to change your sponsorship from your old employer through to the proposed new employer.

And in preparing for this application, you need to anticipate that it’s a process that’s very similar to the application that you underwent the first time in so far as getting the visa approved for the status that you’ve got right now. And in the Hong Kong visa handbook employment Visa section, I’ve set out the documentary requirements that govern these types of applications, whether it’s a new application or in fact, it’s a change of sponsorship application.

Now the way that the process works is that you go to the Immigration Department with your completely assembled bundle and you file your application to change your sponsorship, without at this point, if this is in fact the case, having stopped working for your present employer. And during the currency of your new employment visa application your current employer really shouldn’t be privy to what’s going on because Immigration Department certainly won’t correspond with your existing employer. All that will happen is that whilst the Immigration Department are considering your application, which by the way happens on the 5th floor resident section, not the 24th floor entry visa section, so on the fifth floor. So whilst the Immigration Department are considering your application, they will correspond with you directly and that they’ll raise any questions or requests for information or other requisitions that apply in the context of the application before you.

And in so far as the chances of approval go, you need to anticipate that as long as it’s a like-for-like employment, and as long as you are clearly a professional under the general employment policy and the new employer is justified in engaging your services as opposed to the services of a local person, then it’s reasonable to assume that you’re change of sponsorship application will be approved. Normally the Immigration Department respond positively to such applications.

Now the way it works once you’ve got nine tenths of the way through the application process, is that you’ll see that the Immigration Department will call for a document from you, that demarcates the date of last employment with your current employer, so that they can then, when they finalize your approval, set a line between your previous sponsorship and your new sponsorship. They will need a line in the sand, as it were, a date from which the new sponsorship obligations of your new employer will prevail and at the same time relinquishing your old employer, your past employer of their continuing sponsorship in relation to you. And it’s when the Immigration Department call for this document that you’ll get a sense that they are about to finalize your application positively. And at that stage, what you do is you submit your resignation and give a copy of the resignation documentation that sits between you and your current employer, which in turn will denote what your final date of employment is with that old employer and you submit copies of that documentation to the Immigration Department and they will then, as I say, be able to demarcate the old sponsorship from the new sponsorship.

Then, after you’ve been approved you should receive a letter from the Immigration Department stating when your new employment arrangement are going to commence from, that is your new sponsorship, employment visa sponsorship arrangements are going to commence from, inviting you down to go and process an extension to your current limit of stay because at the moment you have less than six months left on your current limit of stay. And these circumstances rather than put Immigration Department resources through, on the one hand, a change of sponsorship application and then a few weeks or months later because your current limiter says going to expire, put Immigration Department resources through a second application, in so far as giving you an extension to your current limit of stay. Usually the Immigration Department as I say, if you’ve got six months or less remaining on your current limit of stay, they normally endorse your passport at the same time as they give you the new approval and normally that 12 months limit starts from the expiry of your current limit of stay, which in this instance would be July.

So in effect, that’s how that process is handled and that’s how that process is managed and included on this post are a lot of other resources that I’ve dealt with challenges associated with the change of sponsorship application that you’re looking to accomplish.

And again, I refer you back to the employment visa section of the Hong Kong Visa Handbook where all the documents that you need, checklists, templates and all the rest of that good stuff that will apply in allowing you to go through that process, you can find them all there.

Just to remind you, because you’re an existing resident you would submit the application on the resident section on the fifth floor of Immigration Tower, not on the 24th floor, which is the entry Visa section, which is where applications for the very first time for the employment visas are considered.

Okay. I hope you found this useful.

More Stuff You May Find Useful or Interesting

Can the company you have just left contact immigration & make your visa expire immediately?

Is there such an animal as a ‘flexible working visa’ for Hong Kong?

Will my Hong Kong employment visa be compromised if I leave my job due to intolerable working conditions?

Can I use the impending expiry of my Hong Kong work visa as a way to force the early termination of my employment contract?

How can I prove to the Hong Kong Immigration Department my last day of work for my previous employer as part of my change of employment visa sponsorship application?

Does the Hong Kong employment visa change of sponsorship process expressly disclose to my new employer the reason for me leaving my previous 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.

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