Short Term Employment Visa

Hong Kong is an international city, in which a lot of tourists and business persons come with different purposes every day, some come for business meetings, some come for short-term assignment or temporary work, some come for attending seminar or exhibition. It always is a question to what extent a person needs a short term employment visa in Hong Kong. Here are some guidelines from Immigration Department (regarding Hong Kong short term work visa):

1. Regulation 2(1) of the Immigration Regulations (Chapter 115A), Laws of Hong Kong, stipulates that permission given to a person to land in Hong Kong as a visitor shall be subject to the following conditions of stay:

  • he shall not take any employment, whether paid or unpaid;
    he shall not establish or join in any business; and
    he shall not become a student at a school, university or other educational institution.

2. A person permitted to enter Hong Kong as a visitor may generally engage in the following business-related activities:

  • concluding contracts or submitting tenders;
    examining or supervising the installation/packaging of goods or equipment;
    participating in exhibitions or trade fairs (except selling goods or supplying services direct to the general public, or constructing exhibition booths);
    settling compensation or other civil proceedings;
    participating in product orientation; and
    attending short-term seminars or other business meetings.

3. Besides, a person permitted to enter Hong Kong as a visitor may also attend an event to deliver speech(es)/ presentation(s) subject to the following conditions being met:

  • he/she will not be remunerated for speaking/presenting at the event (other than provision of accommodation, passage, meals, etc. relating to the event, or the reimbursement of such expenses);
    the duration of the whole event should be no longer than seven days; and
    he/she can only attend one such event to deliver speech(es)/presentation(s) during each period of permitted stay.

Any person who contravenes a condition of stay in force in respect of him shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a maximum fine of HK$50,000 and to imprisonment for 2 years under section 41 of the Immigration Ordinance (Chapter 115), Laws of Hong Kong.

It is a serious offence to employ people who are not lawfully employable. The maximum penalty is imprisonment for three years and a fine of $350,000. The High Court has laid down sentencing guidelines that the employer of an illegal worker should be given an immediate custodial sentence. According to the court sentencing, employers must take all practicable steps to determine whether a person is lawfully employable prior to employment. Apart from inspecting a prospective employee's identity card, the employer has the explicit duty to make enquiries regarding the person and ensure that the answers would not cast any reasonable doubt concerning the lawful employability of the person. The court will not accept failure to do so as a defence in proceedings. It is also an offence if an employer fails to inspect the job seeker's valid travel document if the job seeker does not have a Hong Kong permanent identity card. The maximum penalty for failing to inspect such a document is imprisonment for one year and a fine of $150,000.

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