Morrison & Foerster is proud to be one of 15 international financial institutions and 16 law firms to have supported a landmark case concerning LGBT+ rights, QT v. Director of Immigration, which paves the way for greater LGBT+ equality in Hong Kong. In this case, a British woman, who requested to be identified only as QT in court, sued the Hong Kong Director of Immigration in 2014 after she was denied a spousal visa that would have granted her resident status and allowed her to work without the need for a separate visa. The woman and her partner, who was offered work in Hong Kong and had secured an employment visa, had previously entered into a civil partnership in Britain.
The Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal ruled unanimously on Wednesday, July 4th that QT should be granted a spousal visa, upholding a lower appellate court’s decision. Prior to this ruling, the group of global banks and law firms had petitioned the Court to grant leave to intervene in the case. While the Court had denied that petition, it explicitly referred to the position taken by the group, stating that “[a]s is evident from the attempted intervention of the banks and law firms, the ability to bring in dependents is an important issue for persons deciding whether to move to Hong Kong” in its final judgment, and thus clearly had the group’s submission in mind when reaching its decision.
The group said in a statement: “This [ruling] is a positive outcome not only for QT but also for the people and business community of Hong Kong. By upholding the right of all people in Hong Kong, regardless of sexual orientation, to obtain dependent visas for their spouses to live and work in this city, this ruling strengthens Hong Kong’s ability to attract global talent and its competitiveness as a preeminent global center for commerce. This ruling paves the way for greater LGBT+ equality in Hong Kong. As major employers in Hong Kong’s financial and legal sectors, we are proud to have supported this case, and will continue to advocate policies and practices that promote LGBT+ equality and inclusion.”
The MoFo team supporting the case included Timothy Blakely, Jason Nelms, Daniel Levison, Thomas Huang, and Jessica Chan.