What’s the compliance issue? A sweep by the Hong Kong Immigration Department and Police that arrested six is a warning to companies that visitors and tourists are not allowed to work.

  • Implementation timeframe: Ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Tourist visas, work authorization.
  • Who is affected: Those traveling on tourist visas or entering as visitors.
  • Impact on processing times: No impact.
  • Business impact: No impact.
  • Next steps: Make sure all employees have proper work authorization.

Background: On Oct. 4, over 50 immigration and police officers launched raids on 15 commercial and residential locations and arrested four men and two women for violating their conditions of stay by working illegally. The arrests signal that authorities are stepping up enforcement against illegal employment.

“Visitors are not allowed to take up employment in Hong Kong, whether paid or unpaid, without the permission of the Director of Immigration,” a spokesman for the Immigration Department said in a statement on the agency’s website.

Companies that allow an individual to work without proper permission can be fined up to HK$350,000, and the responsible company representatives can face up to three years of jail time. Employees who work in violation of the conditions of their stay face fines of up to HK$50,000 and up to two years of jail time.

BAL analysis: Employers should take note of the increased enforcement activity and ensure all of their employees have proper work authorization. The arrests are also a reminder to travelers seeking to do business that they must have work authorization before engaging in any paid or unpaid employment activities.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Hong Kong. For additional information, please contact

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