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Now That I’ve Lost My Job What About My Hong Kong Work Visa? Will I Get Kicked Out of the HKSAR?

November 29th, 2016

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Musing / 49 responses


 

First Published On 4th Jan 2013

Now that I’ve lost my job what about my Hong Kong work visa? Will I get kicked out of Hong Kong?

No, definitely, not. Not at the moment anyway. This is how it all plays out for you now.

But first, a bit of technical background about your employment visa and what happened when it was issued to you.

When your current employment visa was first issued or last extended, the Hong Kong Immigration Department were satisfied on the documents supplied to them that:

(a)    You possess special skills knowledge or experience of value to and not readily available in Hong Kong in the context of the job you were employed to do on the terms and conditions disclosed in your employment agreement, and

(b)   Your employer was justified in engaging your services, those of a foreign national, rather than a local person, and

(c)    Your employer was deemed a suitable sponsor of your stay in Hong Kong  such that if you have to be removed from the SAR for any reason in the future, the HKID can look there for the cost of your repatriation subsequently.

So that’s where you stood until the day your employment ended.

It’s not often appreciated that, when your visa was issued, it came with 2 privileges.

1 – The privilege to do the job (a)-(b) above.

2 – The privilege to reside.

Note these are privileges – not ‘rights’.

A foreign national has no immigration rights per se until they have the Right of Abode when they have become permanent residents.

The privilege to reside flows naturally from the privilege to work. You can’t, after all, be allowed to work in Hong Kong and not be allowed to live here at the same time.

But the distinction between the two is often lost and only ever really come into focus when you stop working for the sponsor of your current employment visa. When this happens, your privilege to work ceases completely (and this includes working for yourself in your own business).

As for your privilege to reside, this will continue until your current limit of stay expires, whereupon you are expected to leave Hong Kong.

The privilege to reside carries the ability to look for an alternate employer and also make preparations to start a business, if this is what you’re thinking you might like to do in the wake of the termination of your last employment.

However, the privilege to start a new employment or actually start working in your new business can only be reinstated by the Director of Immigration.

Consequently, you need to make an application to ImmD to change employers (employment visa) or establish/join in a new business (investment visa) before you are lawfully able to carry on with these income earning activities.

In both cases, this will require a new sponsor to pick up from where your last employer left off.

At the same time, your limit of stay will be extended by a further 12-36 months, (depending) and, at all times, the status of your family members holding dependant visas, simply follows yours except to the extent that your spouse still has the privilege to work on the strength of her own dependant visa which is unaffected by the loss of your job.

More Stuff to Help You Along

I hate my boss and want to leave my job – what about my work visa for Hong Kong?

Do I need to work for the same employer for the full 7 years to get the Right of Abode?

What can be said to constitute ‘ordinary residence’ for the purposes of a Right of Abode application?

My employment visa will expire before my change of sponsorship application has been finalized – help!

Redundancy – the process pitfalls of an expiring Hong Kong employment visa

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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
  • P.Rawat

    22 Sep 2017 pm30 2:13pm
    01

    Hi

    I was working in HK for 2 years till June 2016 and then return back to my home country. I still have valid HK visa till june 2018. I have found a job from one very good organisation in HK again. We have applied for a fresh visa for this and have also included my visa and HK ID copy. Will my valid HK visa and ID card help in issuing new visa to me or Immigration will just change the sponsor company and I can carryon with the already issued visa pasted on my passport. Thanks for your guidance in advance.

    • The Visa Geeza

      23 Sep 2017 am30 9:25am
      02

      If you still have an employment visa stamp in your passport you need to make a chnage of sponsorshop application, not a new visa applciation. This means you need to be physclally present in HK when you apply. The process itself it just like a new employment visa applciation.

  • Ann

    23 Jul 2017 pm31 2:06pm
    03

    Hello,

    I am from the UK and I am currently on a working holiday visa that will expire in July 2018. I want to try out lots of different jobs in Hong Kong within this year. I have just had an interview and the employer says they will need to sponsor me if I want to work for them.. if they sponsor me, then will my working holiday visa become invalid? So when I intend to leave the organisation after a few months, I won’t have a working holiday visa anymore?

    Thank you in advance for any advice you can give on this matter.

    • The Visa Geeza

      26 Jul 2017 am31 11:51am
      04

      Yes – if you secure an employment visa your WHV will then be null and void as soon as your activate said employment visa.

  • Ja

    23 May 2017 pm31 12:26pm
    05

    Dear Visa Geeza,

    My current employment visa ends soon. There will be a gap before I start my new job with the new visa. Between my current job to my new job, what will be my status. Do I have to leave Hong Kong to get a visitor visa?

    • The Visa Geeza

      24 May 2017 am31 11:25am
      06

      Yes – unless you apply for the change of sponsorship BEFORE July 13 in which case you can remain in HK under your current status until ImmD approve your change of sponsorship application. if you DO NOT submit such a change of sponsorship application you would need to leave HK and return again after July 31 and come back as a visitor.

  • DependentSpouse

    15 Nov 2016 pm30 11:45pm
    07

    Hi Visa Geeza:

    I am in a situation similar to what’s been discussed but my exact question doesn’t seem to have been answered previously.
    I am currently on dependent visa with my sponsor being my spouse who is on employment visa – recently renewed, good for another 3 years. I understand that if my spouse quits, she can no longer work unless sponsored by a new employer, though she has right of abode until the expiry of said employment visa.

    What about me though? I know I also have right of abode for next 3 years, but can I continue to work after she is fired or does my right to work terminate when she leaves her sponsor?

    • The Visa Geeza

      18 Nov 2016 pm30 9:38pm
      08

      You have nothing to worry about. Your dependant visa is not impacted in any way by the loss of your wife’s employment. Your dependant visa limit of stay is good for 3 years and you can carry on working in that time come what may.

  • Charlie

    8 Nov 2016 pm30 11:31pm
    09

    Hi Visa Geeza,

    I have applied for Hong Kong work visa. Now i have received work visa (Still i have not entered Hong Kong). Now i want to renew my passport before entering HK as its expiring in 6 months. If i renew my passport, will my HK work visa be still valid? can i enter with same work visa new renewed passport? please advice.

    Thank you.

    • The Visa Geeza

      13 Nov 2016 pm30 12:44pm
      10

      I would enter HK on your current 6 month validity passport with the employment visa label you have been issued. Once activated apply for a new passport and then seek a transfer of endorsement / extension of stay (for up to the maximum 2 years usually granted) from your old passport into your new passport. The visa label you have been issued is tied to the passport of record when your visa was approved.

  • toby

    15 Oct 2016 am31 8:03am
    11

    hi.. my employer terminated my contract before my visa ends…ive been working for the company for more than 3 years.. problem is after a month, they want to rehire me and sign a new contract..what are the dynamics on this?.. should i be entitled for a severance pay even after their intent in rehiring me?..thanks

    • The Visa Geeza

      17 Oct 2016 am31 9:58am
      12

      Sorry I am not qualified to answer this question. It relates to labour law and I only know immigration law.

  • Liz

    28 Sep 2016 pm30 6:04pm
    13

    I’ve quit my job and my visa is supposed to end Nov 13. My boss says they will “report to immigration about my resignation” this Friday. What does this mean exactly? Will I be allowed to stay until Nov 13? or have to leave in October? How much time would I have to leave?

    Could I just go Macau and come back as a Tourist or do I have to leave for a period of time?

    • The Visa Geeza

      1 Oct 2016 pm31 12:54pm
      14

      When does your current limit of stay (existing visa) expire?

      Are you a chef?

      • Liz

        8 Oct 2016 pm31 2:24pm
        15

        My current limit of stay expires Nov 13. I was teaching English. It sounds like from your page above that I have until then. At which point I’ll have to go to immigration and apply for a tourist visa.

        • The Visa Geeza

          13 Oct 2016 pm31 12:38pm
          16

          If you cannot get an extension of stay for your employment visa (assuming you have such a visa and not a WHV) then you must leave HK for Macau on the 11 pm ferry on November 13 and return to HK on the 1 am ferry from Macau on November 14 to be readmitted as a visitor.

          • Liz

            4 Nov 2016 pm30 8:34pm
            17

            Great, thank you for the help!

  • neha

    30 Jun 2016 pm30 11:36pm
    18

    hello there geeza my spouse demise in 3 years of my hongkong visa what should i do now can i remain in hongkong after demising my spouse?? if i can what document should i need? please help.me

  • Richard

    7 Jan 2016 pm31 9:45pm
    20

    Hi Visa Geeza,

    I’ve recently been made redundant and was working on a valid work visa that expires in a year and a half. I hope to find a new employer who will sponsor me soon. In the meantime, for how long can my dependents travel outside of HK before it affects their non-permanent resident status? My wife had planned to take our child to New Zealand for six weeks during summer holidays to be with grand parents. In such a scenario, would my dependents be stamped as ‘visitors’ on their return to HK after the six week trip? Or would they retain their non-permanent resident status as long as I have not left HK for more than a month before I can find a new employer to sponsor my work visa?

    Kind regards,
    Bill

    • The Visa Geeza

      11 Jan 2016 am31 11:14am
      21

      6 weeks outside of Hong Kong will not break their continuity of ordinary residence. Your current limit of stay will expire 18 months later irrespective of the fact of your redundancy and so will their dependant visas – so they will not be re-admitted as visitors upon their return for the 6 weeks away. Their dependant visas will remain valid in tandem with your employment visa.

  • Jessica

    6 Nov 2015 pm30 3:36pm
    22

    Hi there,
    I quit my job before i went to Macau. Now I want to find new work.
    Do I technically have a work visa or am I still here as a tourist?
    You said it is not illegal to look for new work while I am here. Do I start the visa sponsorship process from the beginning?
    Or do I need to do the change of employer path?
    Also how do you contact the immigration director. All the links and phone numbers on the immigration website are automated.
    Do I need to make an appointment and go in?
    Sorry for all the questions!
    And thank you so much for any response.

    • The Visa Geeza

      8 Nov 2015 am30 10:45am
      23

      If you were admitted back into HK with a white slip that says Visitor then you are a Visitor. If it says Employment, then your previous employment visa still has a valid limit of stay on it. This doesn’t mean you still have the privilege to work still; that ended when you stopped working for you last employer. You then need to secure a job offer and go through the process of reinstating your employment privileges once again bu either applying for an change of employment visa sponsorship (5/F Residents section of ImmD Tower or 24/F EEV section if you are in fact here as a Visitor). Se for the exact process in each instance: http://www.hongkongvisahandbook.com/home/hong-kong-employment-visas/

  • Ramesh

    13 Apr 2015 pm30 11:21pm
    24

    HI
    I am working under Hk visa in HK. My company wants me to work in China for more than 183 days.
    I will get salary only in China. Can I work in both places Should I get proper work permit in China.
    Can anyone explain whether it is possible.

    with regars
    rrb

    • The Visa Geeza

      17 Apr 2015 am30 9:35am
      25

      If you’re going to work both in China and also in Hong Kong then you need employment visa permissions in both jurisdictions. As you presently have a work visa for HK you simply just need to turn your attention to becoming compliant in China.

  • G-Man

    25 Nov 2014 am30 11:58am
    26

    Thanks for this website and your advise! The above explanations under your article “Now That I’ve Lost My Job What About My Hong Kong Work Visa? Will I Get Kicked Out of the HKSAR?” are pretty clear and well understood but your last paragraph threw me away and slightly confused me a little… Here is my case and apologies if it was discussed in other parts of the forum, I did a search and couldn’t quite find what I was looking for…
    Been working as an expat in HK for the past 5 years (renewed Work Visa last Oct 2014 for another 2 years, expires Oct 2016). I’ll lose my Job by the end of December but found a job with an American company that is settling operations in HK (still in start up mode). I’m sure they won’t be to sponsor my HK visa while starting up… could they? If not, what are my option? Certainly don’t want to throw away 5 years specially now that I’m 2 years from the ‘Right to Abode’. Understand I can’t work for any company in HK but do I need apply for something when my current visa’s terms become invalid at the end of Dec?
    G-Man recently posted..Hong Kong Entrepreneur Visa (Business Investment) – A Practical GuideMy Profile

    • The Visa Geeza

      25 Nov 2014 pm30 3:12pm
      27

      Your current visa does not become ‘invalid’ in December when you stop working for your present sponsor. Your privilege to work ceases but your privilege to reside continues until your 2016 visa expiry. Strictly speaking, the work you do for the American company needs the permission of the Director of Immigration. I appreciate it is all in start up mode but you would submit all of the papers that speak to their plans for Hong Kong and through your application seek to establish the Hong Kong entity of the US business as a suitable and credible sponsor of your own ongoing visa permissions. This would take the form of a change of sponsorship application (5/F ImmD Tower Residents section) but treat it as an entirely new application in terms of the paperwork you submit – see the D-I-Y Visa Kit for exact guidance. The US parent corporate and financial credentials will be important so include these in the application bundle. If you are still stuck give me a call on 9667 4095 and I’ll talk you through it.
      The Visa Geeza recently posted..Can You Hold a Hong Kong Employment Visa Yet Be Unemployed, Travel & (Even) Work Abroad for An Extended Period of Time Yet Still Qualify for the Right of Abode Here After 7 Years?My Profile

  • jeremy

    13 Mar 2014 pm31 8:21pm
    28

    Hi,

    The company that I am working for decided not to renew my working VISA. My VISA will expire on April 2014. But I was able to find a new employer. How to I apply for visa extension or renewal? should my new company apply for me? And what are the requirements that I need to submit. Thank you.

  • Pheelee

    20 Nov 2013 am30 10:35am
    30

    Hello,

    My husband is about to loose his job every shortly. His company sponsored him so we are able to reside in HK. I am currently on a dependant visa and have been working as a teacher for the last 5 yrs and my employer has offered to sponsor me. Can I just change my visa without any hassles?

  • Win

    3 Jan 2013 pm31 7:35pm
    32

    Hi,
    Mine work permit will be expired by Feb 2015, while my 7 years will be Feb 2014. However, if I lose my job by Feb 2013, I assume that I can reside HK until the end of visa valid. But if this period of losing a job (from 2013-2014) I seldom in HK, but travelling into every month.

    This can count me as 7 years qualified for PR application?

    Thank you

    • The Visa Geeza

      4 Jan 2013 pm31 6:02pm
      33

      Hi – Yes, you can continue to ‘live’ in HK until February 2014.

      However if you stop working for your sponsoring employer 12 months prior, then effectively demonstrate that you are no longer ‘settled in Hong Kong’ (through the pattern of your life coming and going and not seeking to secure alternate employment for the remaining 12 months of the validity of your current limit of stay), ImmD may well conclude that you have not continued to be ‘ordinarily resident’ in Hong Kong for the last 12 months immediately prior to submitting your PHKID application – and you could, inadvertently, break your continuity of residence.

      A lot will turn on the quality of your documentation, whether you maintain a full time residence in Hong Kong, the total amount of time you spend outside of Hong Kong in the last 12 months, the reason why you decided not to pursue alternate employment / business in the wake of you ceasing to work here and the overall story of the last 12 months.

      You also need to be aware that you need to have a valid resident visa at the time you submit your PHKID application and also at the time your PHKID application is approved. There are several weeks between the 2 events. So if your current limit of stay expires on or about exactly the 7 year mark, you may find yourself ineligible to finalize your PHKID application if you have not secured another job and changed your sponsor or applied for, and received, another type of residence visa to get you ‘over the hump.

      Thanks for your question!
      The Visa Geeza recently posted..Will I Still Qualify for the Right of Abode if I Worked Temporarily in Macau Yet Lived in Hong Kong for the Full 7 Years?My Profile

      • Win

        5 Jan 2013 am31 10:13am
        34

        Hi :
        I have been working for HK company for 6 years until now, however, I have stationed in China mainland, but I pay the HK tax for all over 6 years (also the MPF). Is it the problem for counting as reside in HK when PHKID application? My friend told me it is not since the HK company is my sponcer employer, is it true?

        Your reply will be highly appreciated.

        Thanks.
        Win

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