Some foreign national applicants for permanent residency are extremely concerned that certain transgressions of the law during their time in Hong Kong could serve as a barrier to them qualifying for the right of abode here.
Namely, will a criminal conviction in Hong Kong automatically preclude your eligibility for permanent residency in the HKSAR?
Whilst the Immigration Department refuse to discuss any matter relating to security as part of the right of abode consideration exercise and so no specific body of knowledge or experience can serve as a guide in any particular application outcome, the general rule of thumb is that if you have been convicted in Hong Kong of a single offence not entailing imprisonment AND an application for an extension of stay in the wake of that conviction was approved by ImmD subsequently, then it is a fair assumption that such a criminal conviction will not represent any security objection and you can then go on to make Hong Kong your permanent home.
However, ImmD hold all the cards in this regard so it should never be taken as given that such a conviction will not be held against you.
The Right of Abode is, after all, a question of State when all is said and done.
Moreover, if you have any outstanding taxation liabilities at the point of applying for your PR, arrangements will have to be made to clear these up before you can go on to have your eligibility approved – and this is a hard and fast rule, so best get your taxation arrears all sorted prior to submitting your application.
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.