New Content Daily Sign Up Here

Your Questions Answered

How Hard Is It To Transfer From A Hong Kong Working Holiday Visa To A Full Employment Visa?

June 3rd, 2024

Posted in Employment Visas, The Hong Kong Visa Geeza, Your Question Answered /


You know how it is… you arrive in Hong Kong for a year of fun and adventure and then you want to stay… This article deals with the transfer from a Hong Kong Working Holiday Visa to a full Employment Visa.

Transfer From a Hong Kong Working Holiday Visa


Hi there!

I’m an Australian citizen in Hong Kong, working under a working holiday visa which only permits me to work 3 months per employer.

Is the only way around this to be sponsored by my employer or can I transfer to another visa?

I presume it’s quite expensive and tricky to be sponsored for an employment visa by a company – is that true?

Thanks in advance for your help! 


The working holiday visa is an excellent form of immigration status for people who are under 30 years of age who want to come to Hong Kong and experience Hong Kong for an extended holiday and embark on a little bit of a cultural exchange. However, there are conditions that accompany a working holiday visa depending on your nationality; and in this instance we’re talking about an Australian citizen. An australian citizen is allowed to be in Hong Kong for twelve months to work, but can’t work for any single employer for more than three months at a stretch. So in effect, what happens in the case of a working holiday visa holder who finds himself in a position that both him and his employer wants to regularise and make into a full time, in a sense, a permanent employment, then it is possible to make an application to adjust your status from working holiday visa through to employment.

But bear in mind that the Immigration Department will still apply the approvability test for the employment visa to deem you a professional for the purposes of the General Employment Policy. And that will mean that you will need to show in the context of the job offer that you have got for full-time employment that you possess special skills, knowledge and experience of value to are not readily available in Hong Kong.

Now I’ve dealt with the approvability test for the employment visa under the general employment policy ad nauseam elsewhere on the blog, so I don’t propose that we labour it on this occasion, but the procedure is very straightforward – you can be in Hong Kong possessing a working holiday visa, and you can make your application to adjust your status whilst you’re here and whilst you’re still carrying on providing your employment services under the working holiday visa.

In terms of the expense, well that’s a question of whether you pay for professional assistance to help you through that process or whether your employer has got the necessary resources internally to be able to complete that application on your behalf.

Or indeed, you’ve got all the resources available to you on the Hong Kong Visa handbook and indeed on this blog with me answering questions like this for you so that it doesn’t necessarily have to be an expensive exercise. You can certainly navigate the labyrinth which is the Immigration Department for very little or indeed no cost at all. So that shouldn’t put you off.

In a nutshell, the key thing to understand is that the working holiday visa isn’t designed to be a gateway visa through to full employment; the conditions that you got your working holiday visa under are quite strict. They tell you clearly in advance this is for short term educational and cultural exchange. If it just so happens that you find a really good opportunity whilst you’re here and both you and your employer wish to go through the process of regularising their employment, you can certainly make the application. But understand that the approvability test for the employment vision of the general employment policy is going to dictate whether you ultimately get approved or not.

Okay. I hope you found this useful.

VisaGeeza.Ai – Making Hong Kong Immigration A Lot Easier

Transfer From a Hong Kong Working Holiday Visa

VisaGeeza.Ai – 13 Years In The Making

Check Out VisaGeeza.Ai

All Our Know-How : All Our Experience : Fully Interactive

100% FREE!

More Stuff You May Find Useful Or Interesting

Is The Travel Pass As Good As A Hong Kong Working Visa?

Why Applying For A Foreign Domestic Helper Visa For Your Girlfriend Is NOT A Good Idea

Eligibility Criteria For The Hong Kong Working Holiday Visa

I Want To Live In Hong Kong With My Boyfriend – Is The Working Holiday Visa A Good Option?

Am I Allowed To Work Full Time In Hong Kong Even Though I Only Have A One Year Working Holiday Visa?




Please select the social network you want to share this page with:

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.

Handbook Contents
Professional Service Options...