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Why There’s No Such Thing As Migrating To Hong Kong But Rather, It’s All About Your Rationale

March 21st, 2024

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


migrating to Hong Kong


Hi there,

I am interested in migrating to Hong Kong, wasn’t sure what is the best route – getting employment take times, and I wonder what might be the alternative. I am going to open a domain company but not sure if that works.

I need some help to explore some of options but I notice your fee structure is based on specific visa type. Since I wasn’t even sure what approach I should take, I am particularly sure to approach this with your company.

Any advice would be appreciated, including the exploration of skilled talent immigration.

Also can you share with me what are the different level means and what is the differentiator of each service level?



The problem in providing kind of an answer to this question is that you have, understandably, an operating assumption that Hong Kong as a jurisdiction operates like other immigration jurisdictions do from a sort of a migration stroke quality of life perspective. The reason why quality of life programmes exist in other jurisdictions is because other jurisdictions such as Canada, New Zealand, Australia, the UK, US to a degree – they all are seeking to augment their populations through the addition of further long term population through immigration, through a structured immigration programme.

Hong Kong basically doesn’t operate like that. Hong Kong is not a quality of life migration jurisdiction like the others are. And consequently, what it means is that you need to have a rationale for coming to Hong Kong and that rationale will be reflected in the particular visa type that you go after. And our websites are structured in such a way as to reflect the rationale focused nature of Hong Kong immigration, rather than the kind of call to arms for a general population increase through certain types of qualified people. It doesn’t work like that. There always needs to be a rationale.

So, for example, if your rationale to come to Hong Kong is to study, you apply for a student visa. If your rationale is to come to work – an employment visa, to invest in an operating business, a business investment visa as an entrepreneur, joining family, you apply for dependent visa for the purposes of family reunion, if you’re coming for short term visit purposes, then you can potentially get a travel pass. So the instruments of Hong Kong immigration reflect the specific rationale and reasons for why people are coming to Hong Kong. So the Immigration department can control those activities according to policy and that’s how it’s managed here.

So, all I can suggest that you do is have a think about your rationale -what’s best suited to you, then explore the visa type and then make some determinations about how you can sort of craft the circumstances for you to be able to access the immigration programmes in Hong Kong.

It is therefore more a case of what is it that’s really bringing you here and how can you get immigration status to be able to reflect that rationale and how does that immigration status that you get work into long term permanent residency aspirations which require a full seven years of continuous ordinary residence in Hong Kong, holding the particular residence visa type that reflects the rationale that’s brought and kept you here throughout the seven years claimed.

And at the end of seven years, you’ll be able to adjust your immigration status to permanent residency, which would then give you the kind of effective migration type outcome that you’re seeking. But, having done it through the auspices of the immigration programme here, which, as I said, is configured from a rationale first perspective.

I hope you found that useful.

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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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