Lesbian expatriate wins landmark appeal against Hong Kong Immigration Department to secure spousal visa

In their 68-page judgment, reached unanimously, three appeal court judges said the department had failed to demonstrate the visa scheme had been put in place rationally.

“The director [of immigration] has therefore failed to justify the indirect discrimination on account of sexual orientation that QT suffers,” Justice of Appeal Jeremy Poon Shiu-chor wrote. Chief Judge of the High Court Andrew Cheung Kui-nung and the vice-president of the appeal court, Mr Justice Johnson Lam Man-hon, agreed.

QT moved to Hong Kong in late 2011 with her same-sex partner, known as SS, who works in the city.

She applied for a judicial review after the department rejected her application for a dependant visa, saying it did not recognise same-sex marriage.

The judges asked both QT and the department to work out an arrangement in accordance with the judgment and submit a proposal within 28 days.

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