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What Are Your Visa Options if Your Marriage in Hong Kong Has Irretrievably Broken Down?

September 6th, 2012

Posted in 60 Second Snapshot, Family Visas, Feature Article, The Hong Kong Visa Geeza /


 

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So, for better or for worse, you and your spouse have gone your own separate ways and the question of your dependent visa hangs over your head like the sword of Damocles and you don’t know where to turn as regards your continuing immigration permissions to remain in HK

So, here are your options:

Firstly, if your separation is amicable, your partner could agree to accommodate the continuing sponsorship of your dependent visa until you complete your divorce proceedings, assuming, of course, that it is his or her intention to remain in Hong Kong as it is yours.

If this is not on the cards, then you have to look to the rationale for what is keeping you here and seek to adjust your status from sponsored family with a dependent visa to an alternate immigration category

So, for example, if you are presently working you should apply for an employment visa sponsored by your current employer to allow you to remain in Hong Kong to continue performing that work.

If you are not yet working but plan to start doing so, you should work for your new employer on the strength of your dependent visa until at least six weeks before your current limit of stay expires, and then seek to adjust your status to an employment visa sponsored by that employer.

If you have started your own business, no matter how small, that could form the basis of an investment visa application.

In such a case even though the test for approval calls for you to be able to show that you can make a substantial contribution to the economy of Hong Kong, the HKID will take all the circumstances of your life into consideration and look at your application favorably even if it means that at most, at least for the foreseeable future, you will be able to earn a reasonable living from it.

However, if you have not yet started the business and you do not have the fact of your children remaining in Hong Kong sponsored by your ex as a contributing reason for the HKID to approve an application for an investment visa driven by that new business, the Immigration Department will not cut you too much slack and thus your application will be considered just like any other and no account of your special circumstances will be taken and no advantage afforded.

On the other hand, if you are a person of especial talent, you could make an application Under the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme.

But be aware this is a competitive programme and will take six months to finalize all things considered.

If you have at least HKD10 million in liquid funds that you can lock into Hong Kong until such a time as you have been resident in Hong Kong for a total of 7 years continuously, you could apply for a Capital Investment Entrant Scheme visa – but you need to have owned these assets for a minimum of 2 years prior to submitting this application so funds from a recent divorce settlement might not count for eligibility.

Finally, you might be able to able to take advantage of the Immigration Arrangements for Non Local Graduates, either as a fresh or returning graduate.

This means if you have previously graduated with a bachelor or postgraduate degree from a Hong Kong university and have a job offer from an established Hong Kong employer, you can enjoy ‘ favorable consideration’ for an employment visa application in your circumstances.

More Stuff to Help You Along

The Hong Kong Immigration Department are out to deny – not approve – visa  applications (aren’t they?)

Work in Hong Kong for 5  years – leave for two, then return – will I lose my continuous residence for PR purposes.

Can I swap from a  Hong Kong dependant visa to a Capital Investment Entrant Scheme 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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