Hong Kong offers various visa options depending on your requirements. For the purpose of this article, we will be explaining what is required to apply for the most common visas required by entrepreneurs and professionals; the investment, employment and dependant visas.
Firstly, whichever visa you apply for, as the applicant you should not have any criminal records nor pose a security threat, and you should have a good educational background, preferably with a first degree in the field you will be working/doing business in. If you do not have a degree but can provide documentary evidence of good technical qualifications, professional abilities and/or relevant experience and achievements, your application may be accepted.
As an entrepreneur who has just set up his or her Hong Kong company, an investment visa might appear to be the obvious choice and if you can meet the authorities’ requirements it might well be. To apply for an investment visa, you must have a duly incorporated Hong Kong company. You are required to nominate a local sponsor who can be either a company or an individual. In the case of an individual, the person should be an acquaintance, over the age of 18, who is a Hong Kong resident. Ideally, your sponsor will be related to or be able to contribute to your business somehow. You are also required to submit, with your application, a detailed two-year business plan demonstrating your business’ suitability for, and capacity to develop in Hong Kong. Note there is no minimum requirement for investment, but the Immigration Department will assess, according to the business plan you provide, whether your investment amount can support your business operations.
Now, if you are a foreigner it is likely you will face problems finding a local sponsor. If this is the case, you can consider applying for an employment visa. But note, that this implies that you are employed by the company. For your application, you must have a confirmed offer of employment for a genuine job opening that matches your qualifications, skill set, and experience that are not readily available locally. You will also need to provide the remuneration package offered by your employer including income, accommodation, medical and other fringe benefits that are in line with the prevailing market standards in Hong Kong. Where the employer is a newly set up company i.e. it has only been set up within the last 12 months, a detailed business plan must be submitted including information on source of funds,estimated capital injection, nature/mode of business activities, expected turnover, sales volume, gross and net profit in the coming years, and proposed creation of local job posts etc.
For both the investment and employment visa, successful applicants will usually be granted a two-year visa which they can later extend. Further, applicants who wish to bring their spouse and unmarried children under 18 years of age to Hong Kong can sponsor the application of each of their dependants. Sufficient proof of the dependant’s relationship with the sponsor will need to be provided and if granted the length of stay of a dependant will depend on the length of stay of the applicant.
Essentially, your aim should be to fulfill the Immigration Department’s requirements as fully as possible. If you have a sponsor, you meet all other requirements of the Immigration Department and can prove that your business will make a significant contribution to Hong Kong then an investment visa is probably a good fit. Otherwise, you might want to consider applying for an employment visa.
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