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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 Sponsorship?

January 29th, 2013

Posted in 60 Second Snapshot, Employment Visas, Investment Visas, The Hong Kong Visa Geeza /


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Under Hong Kong immigration law, foreign nationals are granted employment visa permissions to  undertake work for a specific employer on the nominated terms and conditions of the employment agreement which underpins the work permissions granted on the issue of the initial visa, any subsequent change of sponsorship  approval or your last employment visa extension.

Any work performed for any other party, whether paid or unpaid, is a breach of conditions of stay – under all circumstances, without exception.

So,  what will the Immigration Department make of the situation where a foreign national resident has breached his conditions of stay by taking up an unauthorised employment because, after all, employment visa permissions are not transferrable from job to job.

There is no such thing as a ‘flexible’ working visa.

The response of the Department will very much depend on the result of their fact finding exercise in getting to the bottom of any unauthorised employment which comes to their attention.

If, for example, they discover that the foreign national has cynically abused immigration policy,  deliberately job hopping and paying no need to the strict conditions of the limit of stay imposed, sanctions ranging from criminal prosecution to cancellation of all ongoing present ,and refusal of any future, residence permissions can be expected.

On the other hand, if there has been an inadvertent oversight or honest misunderstanding of how immigration law works in Hong Kong, it’s possible that the Immigration Department might be prepared to receive a letter of explanation and apology together with an express Declaration on Form ID468 from the erring foreign national and that could put an end to the matter.

Much turns on the facts, the extent and length of the breach and how it came to light.

But one thing is for sure.

There really is no need for any of this to transpire as the Immigration Department are very clear about the law in respect of unauthorised employment and it’s incumbent on you, as the visa holder, to ensure you understand the conditions attached to your employment visa when it is granted to you.

You own the visa and with it the responsibility to be compliant with its terms at all times.

More Stuff to Help You Along

What happens if you overstay your Hong Kong visa limit of stay?

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I was convicted of a crime and removed from Hong Kong – how do my visa options look now?

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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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