Hong Kong Permanent Residency Eligibility After Your Work Visa Expires – Can You Still Qualify?
Maybe, Possibly, Could Be – In Any Event, Better Get Your Skates On
I have been working in HK since 2019 on a working visa, which expired in early August 2023, a couple of weeks ago.
I am no longer working for my employment visa sponsor.
How does this impact my eligibility to qualify for PR? Is there any legal status that I can apply for now, except getting another job in HK or studying, to extend my past 5 years so that I can apply for a permanent residency in HK in 2 years’ time?
I travel often to other countries but I have been practically living in Hong Kong and renting an apartment since 2017.
I hold a Canadian passport. Currently, I am here as a visitor.
If you have been living and working in Hong Kong for several years and are seeking permanent residency here (also knows as the Right of Abode) this much coveted imigration status assures long-term stability and security in the HKSAR. But how do you qualify for it?
In this question and answer, I will discuss the eligibility criteria for permanent residency in Hong Kong, including the impact of working visa expiration, continuous ordinary residence requirements, and alternative immigration status options to ‘bridge the gap’.
Qualifying for Permanent Residency
To qualify for Hong Kong permanent residency, you need to meet the following requirements:
Continuous Ordinary Residence
You must have resided in Hong Kong continuously for a minimum period of seven years. Continuous ordinary residence refers to your physical presence and non-physical footprint in Hong Kong and your intention to make Hong Kong your only place of permanent residence.
PR Approvability Test
You need to have been continuously and ordinarily resident in Hong Kong for a period of not less than seven years where any absences from Hong Kong in that time – be they of long or short duration – are of a merely temporary nature as evidenced by what you leave behind in Hong Kong to return back to at the end of each temporary stay abroad. You need to have held back-to-back residence visas throughout the seven years claimed as ordinary residence in Hong Kong; must be no security objection to being granted the Right of Abode; must be no outstanding taxation liabilities in your hands in Hong Kong at the time that you’re applying for Right of Abode. And you need to have been in Hong Kong for a settled purpose. Your settled purpose is a function of the visa type that you hold.
Impact of Work Visa Expiry
If you have been working in Hong Kong on a working visa, you need to be aware of the impact of working visa expiration on your eligibility for Hong Kong permanent residency. Working visas, such as the employment visa or the investment (entrepreneur) visa, are a type of employment-related visa that allows you to work and live in Hong Kong for a specific period. When your working visa expires, you need to find another job to apply for a new working visa or seek a different, qualifying, immigration status to stay in Hong Kong.
If your working visa expires, and you cannot find another job or apply for a new visa, your continuous ordinary residence period in Hong Kong may be interrupted, affecting your eligibility for permanent residency. To qualify for Hong Kong permanent residency, you need to have an uninterrupted period of seven years of continuous ordinary residence in Hong Kong.
5 Years Doesn’t Qualify
You might wonder if you can extend your past five years here to be eligible for Hong Kong permanent residency in two years’ time. It’s important to note that the continuous ordinary residence requirement for permanent residency is seven years, not five years. Therefore, you would need to fulfill the seven-year requirement to be eligible for permanent residency.
Other Visa Options
Apart from getting another job or studying, there are alternative immigration status options that you can consider to extend your stay in Hong Kong. For instance, Hong Kong offers various visa categories, such as the Top Talent Pass, Entrepreneur Visa or the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme, which may provide alternative pathways to extend your stay in Hong Kong.
However, it’s essential to note that these visa categories have their specific eligibility criteria and requirements that you need to fulfill. The availability and competitiveness of these visa categories might vary, depending on your circumstances and qualifications.
Visitor Status Limitations
If you are in Hong Kong as a visitor, being a visitor does not contribute to the continuous ordinary residence requirement for Hong Kong permanent residency. Therefore, being a visitor does not help you meet the seven-year requirement for permanent residency.
Role of Renting an Apartment
Renting an apartment can demonstrate your residential ties to Hong Kong and be an incremental factor in the continuous ordinary residence assessment. However, please note that the continuous ordinary residence requirement for Hong Kong permanent residency considers factors beyond merely having a residential address and looks to, for example, physical presence in the HKSAR and intention to make Hong Kong your only place of permanent residence.
Last Words …
Qualifying for Hong Kong permanent residency requires fulfilling several criteria, including continuous ordinary residence and all things considered satisfying the PR approvability test. If you have been working in Hong Kong on a working visa, it’s essential to understand how working visa expiration can impact your eligibility for permanent residency. Alternative immigration options, such as the entrepreneur visa or the Top Talent Pass Scheme, might provide you with different pathways to extend your stay in Hong Kong. Renting an apartment can play a role in the continuous ordinary residence assessment, but it’s not the only critical factor. Understanding the eligibility criteria for permanent residency can help you plan your pathway and set long-term goals for the Right of Abode in Hong Kong – the Rolls Royce status available to long stay foreign nationals in the HKSAR.
Addressing the problem of your work visa expiry on your Hong Kong permanent residency eligibility. Listen to the audio version of the answer given above.
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