In Hong Kong, only marriages between opposite-sex partners are currently recognized by law. This impacts any same-sex spouse of a relocating employee hoping to accompany their partner on assignment. Many relocating employees have found workarounds for this, such as applying for prolonged visitor visas in order to join their partners in Hong Kong.
The process to obtain a prolonged visa requires detailed documentation proving pre-existence of the relationship and the financial ability of the sponsoring partner to fund the prolonged visit to Hong Kong. One downside of prolonged visas is that they still do not allow a person to work for, join in or establish a business, or undertake a formal course of study.
If Hong Kong is willing to consider legalizing and recognizing same-sex marriage, this will allow more flexibility for organizations that are moving employees with same-sex partners.
Check out Plus's recent Relo Tip Tuesday video on how your company can support LGBTQ relocating employees.
Canada’s top diplomat in Hong Kong has thrown his support behind legalising same-sex marriage in the city, saying the local government can play a role in protecting people from discrimination. Consul general Jeff Nankivell said that if same-sex marriages were recognised in Hong Kong, it would signal to the international community that the city welcomed a diverse group of people, enabling access to a larger pool of global talent. “The more Hong Kong can do to send a message to people all over the world that it welcomes diversity, the better it is for Hong Kong ultimately.” Separately, Brian Leung Siu-fai, chief campaigner of local gay rights group Big Love Alliance, questioned why Hong Kong could not recognise same-sex marriage while Taiwan did so.