Intratumoural hypoxia induces HIF-1α and promotes tumour progression, metastasis and treatment resistance. HIF-1α stability is regulated by VHL-E3 ligase-mediated ubiquitin-dependent degradation; however, the hypoxia-regulated deubiquitinase that stabilizes HIF-1α has not been identified. Here we report that HAUSP (USP7) deubiquitinase deubiquitinates HIF-1α to increase its stability, induce epithelial-mesenchymal transition and promote metastasis. Hypoxia induces K63-linked polyubiquitinated HAUSP at lysine 443 to enhance its functions. Knockdown of HAUSP decreases acetylation of histone 3 lysine 56 (H3K56Ac). K63-polyubiquitinated HAUSP interacts with a ubiquitin receptor CBP to specifically mediate H3K56 acetylation. ChIP-seq analysis of HAUSP and HIF-1α binding reveals two motifs responsive to hypoxia. HectH9 is the E3 ligase for HAUSP and a prognostic marker together with HIF-1α. This report demonstrates that hypoxia-induced K63-polyubiquitinated HAUSP deubiquitinates HIF-1α and causes CBP-mediated H3K56 acetylation on HIF-1α target gene promoters to promote EMT/metastasis, further defining HAUSP as a therapeutic target in hypoxia-induced tumour progression.