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http://www.hongkongvisahandbook.com - this is the brief SlideShare introduction of the Hong Kong Right of Abode as found in the Hong Kong Visa Handbook. On the Hong Kong Visa Handbook website you will discover every possible resource required to effectively finish a Hong Kong visa application at the Hong Kong Immigration Department.
On February 12, 2003, the Court of Final Appeal in Prem Singh v. the Director of Immigration removed the requirement of unconditional stay status as a first step prerequisite to long-stay foreign national residents securing Right of Abode stating unconditional stay requirement in these circumstances was unconstitutional. Long-stay residents of Hong Kong are now able to become a Hong Kong permanent resident without first having to go through the administrative step of unconditional stay.
From a practical standpoint, the main advantage of this ruling is that an administrative burden has been lifted en route to Hong Kong permanent residence.
You still have to first show that you qualify for the 7-years continuous ordinary residence requirement which is basically the same test as for the granting of unconditional stay, albeit now, the common law will apply ascertaining continuous ordinary residence as opposed to the administrative discretion of the Director of Immigration in granting unconditional stay status which was the case previously.
Therefore, this precludes the Director of Immigration from refusing to grant unconditional stay en route to the Right of Abode which in any event was always a theoretical administrative block to eventually securing the Right of Abode because in 2002 just before this case was handed down, 6823 unconditional stay appeals were granted versus just 33 refusal. The new procedure, namely the one that we use today, for securing the Right of Abode is you must have been ordinarily and continuously resident in Hong Kong for not less than 7years, and the process of asserting these 7 years will be the same as the process which applies for unconditional stay, although unconditional stay will not now be endorsed inside the passport.