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You Have Been Warned: The Hong Kong Immigration Department Are Now Essentially Working To Rule

July 18th, 2017

Posted by / in Case Study, Employment Visas / No responses


I have been spending the last 4-5 months of my life fending off the reasonable concerns which clients have about how long it is taking ImmD to finalise most type of visa applications but mostly employment and business investment (entrepreneur) applications.


Here’s an example of how it works (real life case example) from a recent employment visa application.

Submitted On: April 3, 2017

Official ImmD Receipt Received: April 12, 2017

First Request For More Information: May 15, 2017

Respond by Date: May 29, 2017

Approval Date: July 1, 2017

Total Time to Approval = 12 weeks

So much for the typical four weeks case consideration time frame which sets the expectations of applicants that their visas will be approved in about a month from the initial date of submission.

It’s true that if you have a ‘slam dunk’ application then you might well get approved in 4 weeks. I’d say perhaps about a half of our applications do get approved in four weeks.

However, the moment ImmD ask you a question in your application you can readily add a further 6 weeks to your time to case finalisation.

Essentially, ImmD’s new policy of not resuming any work on your case UNTIL the Respond By Date has passed means that you have a 2 weeks delay and then possibly up to 4 weeks after that until you get the result.

This can quite properly be couched as ‘working to rule’.

And the stats on our website also bear out our own case management experience.

On this website alone site (we have 2 others too) between March 1, 2017 and June 30, 2017 the 3rd most frequented page was the following:


4 weeks ha ha

We are in the Summer Rush season at ImmD presently and so things to tend to take longer in any event. However, if you’re applying for an employment visa brace yourself for a 50% chance that it’s going to take significantly longer than 4 weeks to get your 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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