Checking visa status - Do you know the employability of your employees?

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Before confirming an offer to a candidate, the employer (through their HR function) should check their “employability”, essentially the immigration status of the candidate employee, to ensure they are eligible to work in Hong Kong. Do you know how to check their immigration status, and do you know the visa expiry date of your employees?

Prior to the employment commencement date, the employer should clarify whether the candidate employee is eligible to work in Hong Kong. Generally, the law in Hong Kong requires an employer to take all practical steps to ensure the candidate is holding an immigration status that legally permits taking up work in Hong Kong. If a candidate is not holding a Hong Kong permanent identity card, the employer should proceed to check the candidate’s travel document i.e. passport, plus visa (if any) to clarify the immigration status.

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Question: I love this guy! He is the best suited candidate to be the designer for my architectural firm and he wants to work with us! What should I do next?
Answer: Check his HKID card to see if he is employable. If not, the employer should sponsor the application for an Employment Visa. 

Question: I have an Employment Visa label in my passport already which was endorsed a year ago, can I start new employment immediately?
Answer: No; you need to submit another application to proceed, it’s called Change of Sponsor.

According to law, some visa holders are required to seek approval from the Immigration Department when transferring to a new employer. If your visa is one of the types below, you are required to submit a Change of Sponsor application prior to commencing new employment and may not start your new employment until the application has been approved:

  • Employment Visa granted under the General Employment Policy Scheme (GEP)
  • Employment Visa granted under Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents & Professional Scheme (ASMTP) 

Question: What should I do if I find my employee’s visa is going to expire soon? Should I terminate the contract of the employee?
Answer: No; what you need to do is support the visa renewal for your employee should you intend to hire him/her in the long term. Reminder: You are required to submit a renewal application four (4) weeks before the visa expires.

Marbury Encore* offers HR support solutions to keep employers compliant with their obligations. For further information see our HR and payroll support services, including specific Hong Kong visa services, or contact us directly.

*Marbury acquired Encore Professional Services Limited in May 2020. Click here for more details.