Browse Our Most Recent Content (& Beyond)

This question raises a really good point of Hong Kong immigration practice and provides an opportunity to shed some light on how ‘continuity of residence’ is considered by the HKID when it comes to permanent residency applications from 7 year-resident foreign nationals in the HKSAR.   QUESTION “Hi, I have been working for an international […] Keep Reading...>

March 19th, 2019

” I Want to Bring My Girlfriend to Hong Kong”. This is a common challenge for people in serious, yet relatively new  relationships. The Hong Kong visa options are few and far between. You absolutely have to make sure that you stay on the right side of the law on this one. It’s all too […] Keep Reading...>

March 17th, 2019

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? Wrong! In this question, it is more than apparent […] Keep Reading...>

March 15th, 2019

It sometimes happens that 2 job offers emerge in quick succession and you prefer to accept the 2nd one but the visa application for the first one has already started. So what happens in a situation like this? QUESTION I am currently in Hong Kong and about to sign a contract with a company who […] Keep Reading...>

March 13th, 2019

We have been contacted a lot recently by applicants who’s cases have been refused  – so this question is both timely and, for all those affected, of great significance. QUESTION “I would like to know if, once  I have received the first rejection letter from an Officer of the HKID for my employment visa application, I […] Keep Reading...>

March 10th, 2019

It’s been one helluva start to 2019 with significant ImmD diligence on all types of Hong Kong visa applications. Indeed, my colleagues and I are spending an inordinate amount of time dealing with worried clients who’s applications are caught up in a maelstrom of new documentary requirements and confirmations. ImmD are now deep diving into […] Keep Reading...>

March 6th, 2019

First Published 27th June 2013 In Hong Kong, unmarried heterosexual life partners who share their lives as defacto spouses can’t apply for a dependent visa for the non principal visa holding partner. Instead they have to reply on a positive act of discretion of the Director of Immigration via an application for a prolonged visitor […] Keep Reading...>

March 2nd, 2019

On December 10, 2015 I gave a talk at Centre O Connect in Sheung wan setting out the nitty gritty of the Hong Kong entrepreneur visa since the implementation of the Enhancement Measures on May 6, 2015. In this segment, I discuss the criteria in play to anticipate an approval under the Business Investment Visa. […] Keep Reading...>

February 27th, 2019

All the basics you need to know about food in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is a foodie city, but if you don’t know what you’re looking for, it can be a little complicated! Coming to Hong Kong For The First Time? Keep Reading...>

February 23rd, 2019

The Hong Kong Visa Centre has partnered with Neat and Zegal for the new Startup Academy. The Academy will focus on setting up your new company in Hong Kong.   Join us for our Startup Academy session on 27th February! Stephen Barnes, Co-Founder of Hong Kong Visa Centre will discuss the challenges start-up enterprises and other relatively new SME businesses face […] Keep Reading...>

February 20th, 2019

The question of criminal records and how they impact on Hong Kong visa applications keeps cropping up… QUESTION Hi, I have previously lived in Hong Kong, once as a student so obviously held a student visa and then a couple of years later working there so had an employment visa. I’m a Canadian citizen and […] Keep Reading...>

February 12th, 2019

Excellent question earlier this week. Great opportunity to slay a few sacred cows. QUESTION Hi, one of the requirements for the work visa application is a proof of genuine vacancy. What if a sponsoring company doesn’t do job ads? What can he present? He does recruit locally via his network since he is just a […] Keep Reading...>

February 9th, 2019

Permitted activity under the Visitor visa category seems to be something of a grey area and in the final analysis it all boils down to the attitude of the Immigration Department for a breach of conditions of stay. However, some activities are self-evidently ‘employment‘ in nature and the answer to this questions addresses it squarely. […] Keep Reading...>

February 4th, 2019

Should you be worried that your employment visa status in Hong Kong might be undermined if you choose to leave the employ of an unsavoury employer? QUESTION Hello, my current employer and visa sponsor is a small business, and my working conditions are intolerable – twice the amount of hours than stated on the contract, […] Keep Reading...>

February 1st, 2019

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. […] Keep Reading...>

January 29th, 2019

Can you realistically expect to work for yourself if your employment permissions have been granted under IANG? QUESTION Hi Stephen, thanks a lot for answering the questions on this website. I must say that all the information on is of immense value. I would like to pose a question regarding the Immigration Arrangement for […] Keep Reading...>

January 26th, 2019

How to swap a Hong Kong dependant visa for a Hong Kong work visa – from 39,000 feet! We are presently building the website for our new corporate services proposition, Hong Kong Visa Sherpa. You can download an infographic of this video content here. We are bringing a whole new line of content to help companies […] Keep Reading...>

January 22nd, 2019

Is it always absolutely necessary to call upon a university degree qualification in order to get a Hong Kong work visa application approved? QUESTION I have found a job here and am now in the process of applying for a Hong Kong work visa. It is a Quality Assurance position in the garment business. My […] Keep Reading...>

January 16th, 2019

Accidentally overstay your Hong Kong employment visa?- What happens to you when  seek to change your employment visa sponsor but realise you have accidentally let your current visa expire without seeking an extension of stay? QUESTION Hi Stephen, I ended my employment in Hong Kong at the beginning of January. I looked for work and […] Keep Reading...>

January 12th, 2019

How to qualify for a Hong Kong work visa – from 39,000 feet! We are presently building the website for our new corporate services proposition, Hong Kong Visa Sherpa. We are bringing a whole new line of content to help companies with more than 100 employees to do their cases by themselves without needing to pay […] Keep Reading...>

January 8th, 2019

I am often asked the question ‘can I freelance’ in Hong Kong or ‘what’s the minimum’ needed to anticipate an approval as an Entrepreneur for a Hong Kong investment visa. This short video lays out how to corral your thinking if you wish to start your own business in Hong Kong and need the permission […] Keep Reading...>

January 5th, 2019

First Published November 25, 2013 Sometimes foreign nationals in Hong Kong take the view that it is acceptable to collaborate in the conjuring up of a job offer just for the purposes of helping a friend or professional colleague secure an employment visa in the HKSAR. However, this is fraught with danger and should not […] Keep Reading...>

January 3rd, 2019

This infographic sets out how the path to securing a Hong Kong employment visa is traveled, from the decision to look for work through to granting of the all-important visa in your passport. More Stuff to Help You Along The perils of contriving a job offer in order to make an employment visa application in […] Keep Reading...>

January 1st, 2019

Entrepreneurship is a fluid beast! QUESTION Hello, I was on an investment visa for a year when I started my own business and then took on a full time role with another company.  I was transferred to an employment visa.  I am now considering leaving this role and going back to actively work in my […] Keep Reading...>

December 24th, 2018

Life can get a bit complicated if you work in 2 places at the same time… QUESTION I work for a Hong Kong company in Macau and my wife is my dependent in Hong Kong where we live. My colleague was the same but has now been employed by a Macau company. Does this change […] Keep Reading...>

December 21st, 2018

Can you realistically expect to work for yourself if your employment permissions have been granted under IANG? QUESTION Hi Stephen, thanks a lot for answering the questions on this website. I must say that all the information on is of immense value. I would like to pose a question regarding the Immigration Arrangement for […] Keep Reading...>

December 19th, 2018

The answer to this question is multi-part and ultimately driven by the challenges associated with a New Business Situation… QUESTION I am based in Hong Kong and would like your advice on visa applications for a friend.   A friend of mine, who is based in the US and I have been discussing a business opportunity for Hong Kong and […] Keep Reading...>

December 17th, 2018

If your investment visa has been approved but the Hong Kong Immigration Department believe your application was marginal, you can expect your visa to be subject to Business Review the first time that it comes up for extension. This works as follows: During your original application the HKID may not have been completely persuaded of […] Keep Reading...>

December 15th, 2018

  There are 2 pathways you can follow to apply for a business investment visa for Hong Kong. 1. You can be in Hong Kong as either as resident or a visitor seeking to adjust your immigration status to join in an existing, or establish a new, business; or 2. You can apply prospectively for […] Keep Reading...>

December 13th, 2018

This is a typical question about what is really a Hong Kong business investment visa application – but most often people don’t know, understandably enough, how to couch it… First Published April 21, 2012   QUESTION “Hello, I’m interested in getting HK residence permit (working visa). Please advise what’s the easiest, fastest and cheapest way […] Keep Reading...>

December 10th, 2018

So, just what immigration options for parents accrue to a foreign national holding a Hong Kong permanent identity card? QUESTION Hi there!  A foreign national became a permanent resident after many years study and work in Hong Kong. Now he wants to sponsor his parents holding Canadian passports to become a P.R. In Hong Kong […] Keep Reading...>

December 7th, 2018

First Published On June 20, 2013 This question raises its head in many different guises but this is the first time that anyone has asked it in such a pointed way in the context of training visas – so I’m pleased to be able to shed some light! QUESTION Hi, Great that you provide this […] Keep Reading...>

December 5th, 2018

There is a great deal of confusion about Hong Kong employment visa sponsorship and this short video cuts through all the noise and sets it out definitively. More Stuff You Might Find Useful or Interesting Your employer must help you get your Hong Kong employment visa The 7 things to tell your employer about Hong […] Keep Reading...>

December 3rd, 2018

November 21, 2018 Visa Geeza on RTHK Backchat  –  Hong Kong’s Not Got Talents Last Wednesday I was invited to participate in a discussion entitled Hong Kong’s Not Got Talents on RTHK Radio 3 ‘s Backchat show hosted by Hugh Chiverton and Jenny Lam. My fellow contributors were Mark Michelson, Chairman CEO Forum, IMA Asia; […] Keep Reading...>

November 27th, 2018

First Published April 22, 2012 Visas for one-man consulting businesses figure constantly in our enquiries Inbox. This post will attempt to put to bed this question once and for all… QUESTION “I am currently working as a consultant for a South African company and I am doing consulting for a large international conglomerate in Hong […] Keep Reading...>

November 26th, 2018

If you’re claiming skills, knowledge or experience on your CV as part of your argument for a Hong Kong Employment Visa Application – what’s the gig if you can’t fully  support your claims with references or testimonials? QUESTION Hi, I am 8 weeks into applying for an employment visa (I’m British). I have given the documents […] Keep Reading...>

November 22nd, 2018

Is the Right of Abode in Hong Kong passed along to the spouse of a permanent resident such that is claimable after the death of your PR holding husband..? QUESTION This query is for  my cousin who is an adult. She was born in Pakistan and got married to a Hong Kong non-Chinese permanent resident. She […] Keep Reading...>

November 19th, 2018

To live in Hong Kong requires a place to lay your head here each night. What happens to your application for dependant visas for your family if you don’t have anywhere for them to live? QUESTION I have held a Hong Kong employment visa for the last 3 years.  But most of the time I […] Keep Reading...>

November 16th, 2018

ImmD expect to be able to take a view of a proposed new from 39,000 feet and for this a good set of financial projections are expected to form part of a business investment visa application. QUESTION Does the Immigration Department look for forecasts for profitability and actually estimates of employee hiring? I have written […] Keep Reading...>

November 13th, 2018

Are tenancy agreement copies absolutely vital for a successful Hong Kong right of abode application? QUESTION For my Hong Kong PR application, what happens if I am unable to provide copies of my tenancy agreements?  I never thought I would still be here for 7 years so I every 2 years I get rid of […] Keep Reading...>

November 10th, 2018

Life in Hong Kong can throw up many challenges, none too much greater than the following: QUESTION Hello, and thank you for the opportunity to ask my question! I have questions, but I will frame my situation first. In June of this year, I made a big mistake and got in an altercation with another […] Keep Reading...>

November 6th, 2018

Is it ever legal to work in Hong Kong – especially on a short term basis – with a Visitor Status – without the permission of the Director of Immigration? QUESTION I am a UK based one person limited company and have been asked by a major financial services company with a business based in […] Keep Reading...>

November 2nd, 2018

Any possibility for love to continue in the wake of a terminated FDH contract? QUESTION My girl friend is a Filipino domestic helper who has just left her employment with a Chinese family – however, she wants to stay in Hong Kong with me. Can you advise me on how this might be achieved? ANSWER […] Keep Reading...>

October 29th, 2018

Black boxes and taxes – an unheady mix! QUESTION Hi Stephen, A friend of mine is looking into the idea of residing in Hong Kong. He’s a soon to be traditionally published book author in the United States, and he’s based in another country. Well, assuming his work becomes a financial hit and reasonably well […] Keep Reading...>

October 26th, 2018

How long should a Hong Kong Employment Visa Application take to finalize – especially in light of the 4 weeks cited on the Hong Kong Immigration Department website? QUESTION My working visa application is now almost into its 7th week (49 days and counting). There were documents that immigration requested from my sponsor which may have delayed […] Keep Reading...>

October 24th, 2018

This question gets to the heart of permitted activity as a Visitor and the ability to remain here on an indefinite basis on that status. QUESTION Hi, I am a New Zealander currently staying in Hong Kong with my partner who is a permanent HKID card holder. I do not have a HKID card, just […] Keep Reading...>

October 22nd, 2018

Simple question this one with an easy answer and indicative of the fact that, even though quite a straight forward issue, the information is not otherwise readily available anywhere else on the web. QUESTION I am a Canadian citizen, working in Hong Kong holding an employment visa for 7 weeks. I want to stay after […] Keep Reading...>

October 20th, 2018

Whilst the Immigration Arrangements for Non-local Graduates afford a clean pathway to working permission for foreign nationals freshly graduating from Hong Kong universities, the situation is very different if your degree is from overseas and you’re seeking to work in the HKSAR straight after university. QUESTION Hi Stephen, I would like to ask, I’m a […] Keep Reading...>

October 18th, 2018

The test for the right of abode for foreign national children resident in Hong Kong for 7 years is the same as for adults but the manifestation of that PR takes a slightly different form… QUESTION I’ve heard that our children can independently hold permanent residency once they turn 7.  Is this correct and if […] Keep Reading...>

October 15th, 2018

Hong Kong immigration is rife with visa gossip and rumours so I am pleased this question has been raised as it allows me to slay an old dragon once and for all! QUESTION Hi Stephen, Thanks ever so much for your amazing website. I have never seen anything like this before – and I can’t […] Keep Reading...>

October 12th, 2018