Hong Kong: Breakthrough for LGBT rights as Hong Kong to recognise same-sex partnerships in spousal visa applications

Hong Kong will for the first time recognise overseas same-sex partnerships when granting dependant visas, the government announced on Tuesday. The new policy was welcomed by advocates, but opponents of LGBT rights called on the government to make sure the amendment did not lead to more rights for homosexual couples, even as officials insisted it would not.

The change came after a review prompted by a Court of Final Appeal ruling in July, at the end of a long legal battle, that a married British lesbian – identified as QT – should be granted a spousal visa. She had initially been denied.

From Wednesday, the director of immigration will favourably consider an application from a person who has entered into “a same-sex civil partnership, same-sex civil union, same-sex marriage, or opposite-sex civil partnership or opposite-sex civil union outside Hong Kong” for entry for residence as a dependant, if the person meets the normal immigration requirements.

There should be “reasonable proof of a genuine relationship between the applicant and the sponsor”, “no known record to the detriment of the applicant”, and evidence that “the sponsor is able to support the dependant’s living at a standard well above the subsistence level and provide him/her with suitable accommodation in Hong Kong”, according to a government statement.

Officials stressed the revision concerned the immigration policy on applications for entry of non-local dependants only. Read more via South China Morning Post