A British woman has won the right to work and live in Hong Kong with her partner in a landmark LGBT ruling from the territory’s top court.
The woman, known as QT, was denied a dependent visa when she moved to Hong Kong after her partner got a job there in 2011, the same year the couple entered into a civil partnership in the UK.
She was forced to stay on as a visitor without the right to work, but was backed by major financial institutions in her fight for visa rights.
QT won the right to live in the Chinese city when the Court of Final Appeal ruled it was “counter-productive” to only extend dependent work rights to heterosexual couples.
It said employment visas are granted because the individual “has the talent or skills deemed needed or desirable… such a person could be straight or gay.”
Same-sex marriage or civil unions are not currently recognised in Hong Kong.
“I was like wow, have I actually done it, have we actually got there, finally?” QT said of her victory.
“And then I was tearful with joy… this is all I wanted for seven years.”
She added that the recognition of her civil partnership made her feel “relevant and valuable, more than anything”.
Her lawyer Michael Vidler said that it would “hopefully pave the way to change” in regards to the recognition of same-sex marriage.
QT’s case was publicly supported by top financial institutions such as Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.
They said diverse hiring practices were crucial to attracting and retaining top talent.
QT previously accused the Chinese government of treating her “like a second class citizen” because of her sexual orientation.
Last year, she won her case at the Court of Appeal, which ruled immigration authorities had “failed to justify the indirect discrimination on account of sexual orientation that QT suffers”.