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Can I Leave Hong Kong To Work Overseas At The Same Time As I Apply For The Right Of Abode In Hong Kong?

May 4th, 2024

Posted in Long Stay & PR, The Hong Kong Visa Geeza, Your Question Answered /


Can you be both settled in Hong Kong, have taken the HKSAR as your only place of residence, yet go and work overseas all at the same time?

Right of Abode


Thank you so much for your wonderfully informative website.

I have a question about the timing of starting a new job working for a non-HK employer and which job is not based in HK, in light of my interest in filing the Right of Abode application.

At the end of July 2014, I reach the 7 year mark required to file the Right of Abode application, and at which time I would have been with the same Hong Kong employer during the whole 7-year period.

I note that I have had a valid work visa since July 2007 and my latest work visa expires end of July 2015.

I also note that I’ve been sent to Singapore on long, albeit temporary, assignments that should not impact the Hong Kong residency requirement for my Right of Abode application.

I am interested in trying other jobs soon.

I have a job offer that is a one year contract for a company (that is in the same industry as my current employer) based in Singapore to work in Singapore.

The company is willing to wait for me to file the Right of Abode application before I start working with them.

Can I start working for the new company, say, a week or two weeks after I file the application (the new company will allow me to visit Hong Kong while the application is in process to fulfill any in-person requirements such as for any interviews) or is it advisable to wait longer or until I actually receive approval for HK permanent residency before I start working for the new company?

How long will the approval process take?  I plan to return to Hong Kong at some point to work after gaining some interesting and different experience at the new company in Singapore.

Thank you very much.


Yes, this is always a tricky one because the test for approval for the Right of Abode is you need to show, on the one hand, that you’ve been continuously and ordinarily resident in the HKSAR for a period of not less than seven years immediately prior to submitting the application, and on the other, you need to show that you both settled in Hong Kong and that you’ve taken Hong Kong as your only place of permanent residence.

So clearly here, if you’re thinking that perhaps your future lies away from Hong Kong, then it’s arguable that the fact of making those steps to set up your new arrangements in Singapore could derogate from the notion that you are both settled in Hong Kong and that you’ve taken Hong Kong as your only place of permanent residence.

So, to be absolutely bulletproof in this respect, my advice would be to postpone any plans whatsoever that you have for a life away from Hong Kong, so that you can quite clearly and honestly put your hand on your heart when you make the declaration, to the extent that you’ve taken Hong Kong as your only place of permanent residence and that the facts of your life on the ground in Hong Kong clearly demonstrate that you’re settled here. And then if subsequently, once your Right of Abode application has been finalised, approved and you are a permanent resident of Hong Kong, if new facts emerge that suggest that you might want to take up an offer of employment or pursue some other kind of activity – in this instance away from Hong Kong in Singapore, then that’s what that is.

And, as long as once you’re a permanent resident, you return to Hong Kong on at least one occasion in any three year given period, you will be able to maintain your Right of Abode. So my advice to you would be – don’t do anything that would compromise the idea today that you are settled in Hong Kong and that you’ve taken Hong Kong as your only place of permanent residence.

Okay, I hope you found this useful.

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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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