Immigration Implements Interim Recognition Of Same-Sex Partners Eligible As Dependants

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Following the judgment handed down by the Court of Final Appeal in QT v Director of Immigration (FACV No. 1 of 2018) on July 4, 2018, the Government announced to be reviewing the immigration policy for dependants to give effect to the judgment. Until then the Immigration Department applies an interim arrangement for applications from a party in a foreign legally recognised same-sex relationship with eligible sponsors for entry for residence as dependants in Hong Kong.

Under the prevailing dependant immigration policy an application from the spouse of an eligible sponsor for entry for residence as a dependant in Hong Kong will be favourably considered if the spouse meets the normal immigration requirements and the following specific eligibility criteria:

  1. there is reasonable proof of a genuine relationship between the applicant and the sponsor;
  2. there is no known record to the detriment of the applicant; and
  3. the sponsor is able to support the applicant's living at a standard well above the subsistence level and provide him/her with suitable accommodation in Hong Kong.
The interim arrangement, will grant a party in a foreign legally recognised same-sex relationship with eligible sponsors permission to remain in Hong Kong for 12 months or in line with their sponsors' limit of stay, whichever is shorter, subject to a time limitation only, without other conditions of stay. The concerned party may take up employment, establish or join in business or study in Hong Kong without the need for prior permission from the Director. This arrangement follows the conditions of stay of dependant spouses of opposite-sex couples.

In QT v Director of Immigration, the Applicant, QT, lodged an application for judicial review against the Director's decision of refusing her application for entry for residence in Hong Kong as a dependant of her same-sex civil partner on the grounds that she was not a "spouse" under the prevailing dependant immigration policy. The Court of First Instance (CFI) dismissed the application for judicial review, but the Court of Appeal reversed the CFI's judgment on appeal. On July 4, 2018, the CFA dismissed the Director's appeal.

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