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The rationale for unconditional stay status is the idea that after a lengthy period of trouble-free residence, you should be allowed to escape the grip of the Hong Kong Immigration Department both in respect of your rationale for remaining in Hong Kong (no visa required) also the time you ought to be allowed to remain (no limitation on your period of stay). This status is merely an administrative convenience and it is not the same as permanent residency, also known as Right of Abode.
Unconditional stay has an important role to play for those long-term foreign national residents of Hong Kong who have for their own reasons not taken Hong Kong as their only place of permanent residence and cannot, in all good faith, make declarations to that effect as part of the process of acquiring Hong Kong permanent residency.
So, as we have seen, unconditional stay is an administrative convenience. It isn’t the same as the Right of Abode. It is a very useful immigration status; and in order to qualify you need to have 7 years continuous ordinary residence and you need to be holding a qualifying visa throughout all this time and this necessarily excludes people who are holding foreign domestic helper visas and those who have been admitted under the Supplementary Labor Scheme. Because the challenge here is continuous ordinary residence, if you do have any period of time away from Hong Kong in that 7 years and it has been over 6 months, you need to be able to argue it away and the test in these circumstances is “what was your intention at the time that you departed when the period of absence from Hong Kong commenced?”