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Hong Kong Dependant Visas Finally Available To Same Sex Partners – New ImmD Policy

September 19th, 2018

Posted by / in Family Visas, Feature Article, Musing / 4 responses


 

Hong Kong dependant visas finally available to same sex partners! I will update the Hong Kong Visa Handbook section over the course of the next few weeks (it’s a quite a lot of work) but for now here is the new policy direct from the horses mouth (verbatum!)

Immigration policy on entry of dependants revised

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     The Government announced today (September 18) that the immigration policy on applications for entry of non-local dependants(Policy) has been revised so that with effect from September 19, 2018, a person who has entered into a same-sex civil partnership, same-sex civil union, “same-sex marriage”, opposite-sex civil partnership or opposite-sex civil union outside Hong Kong with an eligible sponsor in accordance with the local law in force of the place of celebration and with such status being legally and officially recognised by the local authorities of the place of celebration will become eligible to apply for a dependant visa/ entry permit for entry into Hong Kong.  Apart from the above, all other original eligibility criteria of the Policy remain unchanged.


A spokesman for the Government said that the Government decided to revise the Policy upon the completion of a review of the Policy conducted in view of the judgment handed down by the Court of Final Appeal (CFA) on July 4, 2018 in QT v Director of Immigration (FACV No. 1 of 2018) (QT case), having careful regard to the objective of the Policy and the principles laid down in the judgment.

Under the revised Policy, the Director of Immigration (Director) will favourably consider an application from a person who is the other party to one of the above relationships for entry for residence as a dependant in Hong Kong if the person meets the normal immigration requirements and the following original specific eligibility criteria of the Policy:

(i) there is reasonable proof of a genuine relationship between the applicant and the sponsor;
(ii) there is no known record to the detriment of the applicant; and
(iii) the sponsor is able to support the dependant’s living at a standard well above the subsistence level and provide him/her with suitable accommodation in Hong Kong.

The Immigration Department (ImmD) will process outstanding applications and any new application received according to the revised Policy.  As for persons who have earlier been granted permission to remain in Hong Kong by the Director under the interim arrangement put in place by the ImmD pending the completion of the review of the Policy, the permission will remain valid.  Before the expiry of the permitted limit of stay, they may apply to the ImmD for extension of stay to remain in Hong Kong as dependants.  The ImmD will process the applications according to the revised Policy.

The spokesman stressed that the revision concerns the immigration policy on applications for entry of non-local dependants only and it does not affect the meaning of “spouse” under this Policy.  It does not affect any other policies of the Government or any other rights under the existing law in Hong Kong.

“As the CFA recognised in its judgment in the QT case, a valid marriage under Hong Kong law is heterosexual and monogamous and is not a status open to couples of the same sex.  The revision has nothing to do with legal recognition of same-sex civil partnership, same-sex civil union, ‘same-sex marriage’, opposite-sex civil partnership or opposite-sex civil union in Hong Kong.  Nor should there be any expectation of such plan by the Government.  The revision does not compromise the Government’s position in any legal proceedings,” he said.

The Policy allows those who are able to provide care and financial support to their dependants to sponsor their non-local dependants to come to reside in Hong Kong.  The Policy also ensures that Hong Kong will continue to attract and retain people with the right talent and skills to come to and remain in Hong Kong by giving them the choice of bringing in their non-local dependants to live with them in Hong Kong.

Ends/Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Issued at HKT 14:00

QT RULING AVAILABLE HERE

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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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RESPONSES
  • Fiona

    30 Aug 2018 am31 10:37am
    01

    Just processed the first dependant visa for the trailing same sex spouse of one of my employees. Interestingly while the application submitted was for ‘Dependant’, the visa issued is ‘Residence’. No limitation of stay noted and validity period is tied to the employment visa expiration date.

    Do you foresee any issues arising from this?

    Thank you

    • The Visa Geeza

      30 Aug 2018 am31 11:07am
      02

      No – ImmD are grappling with how to implement the results of the QT directions of the CFA and so they’re essentially granting ‘unconditional stay’ tied to sponsor’s own status. Come time for renewal seek to extend both in tandem as if it was a dependant visa extension (unless new directions for ImmD have been announced in the meantime.)

      • Brian King

        14 Sep 2018 pm30 1:49pm
        03

        Hi. As a same-sex couple, my partner (sponsored by me) has previously been on a prolonged visitor’s visa, which we secured through the “Other visas and permits” section on the 7th floor of immigration tower. We got married on August 22nd, 2018, and now with the new ruling we intend to apply for a Dependent visa for him. Should we go back to the 7th floor do you think?

        • The Visa Geeza

          17 Sep 2018 am30 10:25am
          04

          A formal policy announcement is expected imminently from ImmD but we are submitting DV appilications for SSP on the 24/F.

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