Possible Impacts on Permanent Residents out of Hong Kong due to COVID-19

Influenced by COVID-19 pandemic situation, some expats (i.e. non-Chinese citizens) who obtained Hong Kong (HK) permanent identity cards, may have to depart from HK for a period of time due to health concern or family reunion purpose.

Under current immigration policy, if an expat, who has acquired permanent resident status and has been absent from HK for more than 36 months continuously, such status will be affected.  In other words, he/she will lose the Right of Abode in HK.  It also includes the right to vote in elections and other rights or benefits being enjoyed as a permanent resident previously.

When an expat loses permanent resident status, he/she will automatically acquire the Right of Land.  It refers that he/she will be able to enter HK freely to live, study or work without restriction and a visa is not required though the permanent resident status is lost.  Returning to HK with permanent identity card is still acceptable after 36 months of absence.  Please refer to below for the rights being enjoyed between Right of Abode and Right of Land:

Right of Abode allows a person:

  • to land in HK;
  • to be free from any condition of stay (including a limit of stay) in HK;
  • not to be deported from HK; and
  • not to be removed from HK.

Right of Land allows a person:

  • to land in HK;
  • to be free from any condition of stay (including a limit of stay) in HK; and
  • not to be removed from HK.

On the other hand, if an expat decides to return HK within 36 months in order to maintain his/her permanent residency, there is no specific requirement on how many days are required to stay as long as he/she does so.  In any event, it is subject to the decision from the Immigration Department and depends on the circumstances.  If necessary, seek help from legal advice is highly recommended.

If you have any queries or concern to your case, please contact our office for assistance.

Marzio Morgante
Chartered Accountant, LL.M.
Managing Partner
Tel: (852) 3102 1995

Mandy Chau
Senior Manager
Corporate Services
Tel: (852) 3102 1995

Rooms 501-2, Wilson House
19-27 Wyndham Street
Central, Hong Kong

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