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Understanding and Rectifying a Change of Sponsorship for Hong Kong Employment Visa

December 9th, 2023

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


Fixing A Change of Sponsorship For Hong Kong Employment Visa

What will be the consequences of being employed illegally for almost a year without having a change of sponsorship for Hong Kong employment visa?

Change of sponsorship for a Hong kong employment visa

When new owners took over the company sponsoring a visa, with the limit of stay up for renewal soon, they terminated the employee temporarily with compensation until it was all resolved. Will  PR eligibility be impacted due to this oversight?

Change of Sponsorship for Hong Kong Employment Visa

Understand the implications and solutions for a change of sponsorship for Hong Kong employment visa due to a change in company ownership. When a company changes ownership and reconfigures employee employment contracts to a new entity, it’s crucial that the Human Resources (HR) department informs the Immigration Department about this change in arrangement and with it the sponsorship of their visas. Failing to do so can result in employees working illegally, as you’ve experienced for almost a year. This realization can be daunting, especially when your visa is set to expire soon.

The Silver Lining: Rectifying the Situation

However, there’s a silver lining. When there’s a change in ownership and with it a change of sponsorship for Hong Kong employment visa, the new owners are supposed to notify the Immigration Department. The Department will then correspond with the new owners to assess the credibility of the new employing entity to be a sponsoring entity. If there has been a trade sale or commercial transaction, the Immigration Department generally approves the change in arrangement, as long as the new arrangement amounts to a credible sponsorship status.

The Role of the Immigration Department

To rectify your situation, your employer needs to approach the Immigration Department, confess what happened 12 months ago, and make it right. As long as the entity that presently serves as your employer is ‘well established’, even though it might have changed name, the obligations for sponsorship that go with that entity will be adjusted to bring you into compliance. ‘Well established’ means it is also employing locals in addition to you, has a tenancy agreement for its business premises and is resourced with both funding and normal business income streams.

The Impact on Your PR Application

If your employer does this, it should not have an impact on your PR application next year. So, you should leave it up to your company to rectify the situation and then get back to your work duties. Your company did terminate you so that they could have time to rectify the issue and employ you lawfully back again once this is settled. You do not need to engage a lawyer for this matter. If there is anything else you should be doing, your company will let you know.

Steps to Rectify the Situation

The Employer’s Responsibility

In conclusion, a change in sponsorship for Hong Kong employment visa due to a change in company ownership can be rectified by the employer notifying the Immigration Department and making the necessary adjustments. This should not impact the employee’s ability to remain in Hong Kong or their future PR application.

Your Role as an Employee

As an employee, your role is to cooperate with your employer during this process and to continue fulfilling your work duties once the situation is rectified.

The Importance of Legal Counsel

While you do not need to engage a lawyer for this matter, it’s always a good idea to be informed about your rights and responsibilities.

Looking Ahead: Future PR Application

Looking ahead, remember that this situation should not impact your PR application next year, as long as your employer takes the necessary steps to rectify the situation NOW!

More Stuff You May Find Useful or Interesting

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What Happens If You Inadvertently Breach Your Conditions Of Stay By Taking Up An Unauthorised Employment In Hong Kong Without First Applying For A Change Of Visa Sponsorship?

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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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