The Process Pitfalls of an Expired Hong Kong Employment Visa

Hong Kong visa and immigration processes can be profoundly easy or incredibly complex. It all depends on the exceptional combination of circumstances you find yourself in. In an unadulterated linear world of proposition for employment visa application-approval-then take-up the work, it can be relatively straightforward to align your working visa permissions to your work as well as the time spent working for that one approved manager.

But what happens, say, if you get madeĀ investment visa hong kong redundant six weeks before your work visa is due to lapse – and you have no new position offer in hand by the time your present time of stay under the business visa endorsed in your passport comes to an end? Do you have to leave the HKSAR? Will you be given an extension to your business visa despite the fact that it is no longer sponsored by a business you have now ceased working for? Do you go into a kind of visa-limbo land? Do you leave HK for a day or 2 and come back as a visitor? If you do that, does it mean you lose your continuity of residence for the purposes of an eventual application for a Permanent Hong Kong Identity Card, securing right of abode in the process?

These are all-important questions faced as often as possible enough by foreign national residents of HK to warrant answers to. So here we go:

1. Without a bid for employment you cannot apply to broaden your business visa permissions.

2. Consequently, when your present time of stay runs out, you should go to Immigration Tower in Wanchai and get yourself a visitor visa on the pre-text that you need to remain in the HKSAR to continue to find an alternate business.

3. The HKID should accommodate such requests for several weeks/a couple of short months, especially as the longer you’ve lived in the HKSAR, the more amenable they are to empowering you to remain in situ to assist you with getting yourself back on a sound work footing once again.

4. Once you have a bid for employment in hand, you must re-apply for a work visa via the 24/F of Immigration Tower once more using the forms ID990A and ID990B (despite the fact that these forms are designed for applicants who are presently living outside of Hong Kong). Using the form ID91 (extension of stay for a visitor seeking to change status back to business whilst in HK via the 5/F is no longer the process adopted by the HKID). Note that if you intend to start your own business a separate process applies that goes beyond the scope of this discussion.

5. Under this mechanism, once your new visa application is approved, you will be issued with another visa label which you have to activate by exiting HK (usually via Macau or Shenzhen for the day) and reemerging with the new visa label placed in your passport for activation when you recross the border back into the HKSAR.

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