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My Employment Visa Has Been Refused – What Can I Do Now?

March 25th, 2024

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


My employment visa has been refused …. We have been contacted a lot recently by applicants who’s cases have been refused  – so this question is both timely and, for all those affected, of great significance.

Employment Visa Has Been Refused


“I would like to know if, once  I have received the first rejection letter from an Officer of the HKID for my employment visa application, I can either:

i) file Reconsideration and if still rejected,

ii) then file S53 Review, or

iii) make direct application to the Chief Executive after second rejection?”


When an application from an employment visa has been denied, the letter which the applicant receives indicates that the employment visa application was not approved as the Immigration Department were not satisfied that the person possessed special skills, knowledge or experience or value to are not readily available in Hong Kong; in all the circumstances of case, the employer is justified engaging with services of an expatriate rather than the services of a local person, and this leaves it very difficult to try and interpret exactly what might be wrong with a case and thereby putting together another set of information to have another run at the application by way of an appeal’s process called a case reconsideration.

In order to successfully argue a case reconsideration, you basically need to have significant additional new information which had weight to the original application or are there relevant and important new facts which have come to light since the refusal with comprehensive verifying documentation supplied to support it. So that process in many ways is like another employment visa application.

The case officer will review it and then his colleagues will review it and then a determination from supervisory level staff and managerial staff will be laid down to ensure that in fact the original decision was the correct decision and that any new and previously unsubmitted information which has been supplied doesn’t add the necessary weight to coerce the Immigration Department to switch from one decision to the decision of approval; and that’s a process that usually plays itself out over the course of between two and sometimes twelve weeks. If the reconsideration is refused, then really your options are starting to get a little bit limited in a practical sense.

In your question, you mentioned the issue of section 53, review of the immigration ordinance. This is a procedure that’s not very often used these days because whilst the review procedure is ongoing the applicant is not allowed to be in Hong Kong as a visitor. So because it can take between six and twelve months for a review process to be completely finalised, most people who’ve been denied employment visas and haven’t been successful in reconsideration don’t travel down that path because it simply just takes too long to be anything close to practical.

Additionally, making an application for direct intervention of the Chief Executive is an appeal manoeuvre that is not recommended in the average sort of run of the mill case, as it were, and because you haven’t provided any information as to what the nature of the case is, or allow us to understand a little bit more about how we might be able to make this advice more tailored to you. However, it would seem unlikely, given the volume of instances that we have made an application for the intervention of the Chief Executive that in your instance, it may probably not be irrelevant or indeed an appropriate channel or place to follow. So in many ways, even direct intervention request of the Chief Executive isn’t a particularly practical solution to your dilemma. However, as I say, only in the case where there’s a significant matter of public interest involved would you want to follow that route.

So those are the array of the options you got available to you – your first port of call is, without doubt, reconsideration; and then if you are refused on the reconsideration and it’s becoming really apparent to you that they are making the wrong decision, you could potentially submit another reconsideration with, again, further new and previously unsubmitted information that would allow the Immigration Department to take another look at it. But, in a very practical sense, by the time that process is played itself out, it’s arguable that you don’t really have anywhere else to go and the appeals process is not going to work for you. Unless, of course, you genuinely believe that your employment is a matter of great public interest, such that the Immigration Department should be redirected by the Chief Executive to have a better and closer look at it, but it would seem to be unusual.

I hope that helps.

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More Stuff You May Find Interesting Or Useful

Hong Kong Visa Handbook – Refusals &  Appeals

Appeal Options Available

Preparing To Appeal (Flash Presentation)

Case Study – Audio Discussion (Flash Presentation)

The 7 Things Your Employer Needs To Know About The Immigration Process When Applying For An Employment Visa For Hong Kong




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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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