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QOTW: Dependancy? Visas For Mainland Spouses Of Hong Kong Permanent Residents

February 23rd, 2024

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


The vexed question of dependant visas for mainland spouses of Hong Kong permanent residents


I am a Hong Kong  PR (Canadian, been in Hong Kong for 9 years now working as a CPA) and recently married a PRC resident, who is a senior manager in a bank in Shanghai. What kind of visa can I get for my wife that would enable her to live with me in Hong Kong without stay limit, get a HKID card and seek employment.  I note that the published information indicates the dependant spouse approach is not applicable to PRC residents. She does not want to give up her PRC resident status.


Normally, when a foreign national resident of Hong Kong is seeking to secure dependent visa permission for his Chinese spouse, an application for dependent visa is made in the normal way; however, this anticipates that the applicant spouse sponsor is a temporary resident of Hong Kong not a permanent resident, because under a wider immigration policy that restricts certain classes of people to come to Hong Kong from China, essentially spouses of permanent residents of Hong Kong who are mainland Chinese can’t get dependent visas; instead, they have to apply for one-way permit which means that they go on a waiting list of many years standing and it isn’t a particular practical way for families to be reunited. So this actual rule applies to foreign national permanent residents of Hong Kong and a lonely Chinese permanent residence of Hong Kong and so wherever you have a situation that you have a permanent resident of Hong Kong who is married to a PRC spouse, the dependent visa is unavailable; therefore, you’ve got to look to other possible solutions of being able to reside in Hong Kong together, notwithstanding the fact that you cannot get a dependent visa.

One way to do this is to become a student particularly if there is a master’s degree program that’s suitable for an existing bachelor degree holder spouse, because they could participate in that program for just one year, graduate from that Hong Kong University, and they would then be able to get an automatic no-questions-asked working visa for at least 12 months thereafter under the immigration arrangements for non-local graduates (IANG), and that gives you a very simple and straightforward pathway to be able to secure a residence status through the study route.

Another way to do it is to secure a job offer from a Hong Kong company that is well- established and then make an application for employment visa under the admission of mainland talents and professional scheme and essentially in that instance the spouse would have to be very well qualified, have a good educational background, and posses special skills, knowledge and experience of value to and not readily available in Hong Kong and in those circumstances immigration would approve that application and then you’d be able to live together in Hong Kong with your spouse having an employment visa instead of a dependent visa in this instance.

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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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