Top Tips & FAQs for Start-ups

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Hong Kong has always been a popular and likeable place for talents, professionals and entrepreneurs to work and invest with business-friendly immigration policies. We have picked some top FAQs here to equip and help foreign nationals get a HK working visa more efficiently :

 

1. Do I Need a Visa for Visiting HK?

According to the HK immigration policy, nationals of about 170 countries and territories may visit Hong Kong without a visa for a period ranging from 7 days to 180 days. However, if you wish to come to HK for the purposes of study, taking up employment, training, investment or residence, you must obtain a visa before coming to HK. It normally takes 4 weeks up to process a visa application upon receipt of all the required documents.

 

2. Which Working Visa Type Do I Need to Apply for?

In general, there are 4 common types of working visa in HK: Employment Visa, Investment as Entrepreneurs Visa, Dependant Visa and Training Visa, each of them is eligible for your application:

Employment Visa: For those foreign nationals who work in a Hong Kong registered company, an Employment Visa is required. The applicants should already have an offered position in HK which could not be replaced by the local labour market.

Investment as Entrepreneurs Visa: For those who wish to establish or join in a business in HK, they can apply for an Investment as Entrepreneurs Visa. The applicants should be the owner of a business, planning to be stationed in HK for managing the business. The basic requirement is that the applicants should have their business registration in HK and have a solid business plan for their business. The business should have sustainable contribution to the HK economy.

Dependant Visa: For a sponsor who is a HK permanent resident or a resident who is not subject to a limit of stay, or who has been admitted into HK to take up employment or study, or who is permitted to remain in HK as a capital investment entrant, he / she could bring along his / her spouse and unmarried dependent child under the age of 18 for residence in HK. The spouse who has received a Dependant Visa can take up an employment in HK during the period of stay.

Training Visa: This visa is for those trainees to be trained in a HK reputable company, which is capable to provide the proposed training. The trainings should be proven as programmes of providing special skills and knowledge that are not available in the applicant's home country. Maximum period of a Training Visa is 12 months.

 

3. I Plan to Hire a Foreigner, How Can I Apply for a Visa for This Staff?

In this case, you will need to apply for an Employment Visa for your employee. Your application could be favourably considered if you can provide: details, with proof, of the applicant’s good education background, experience and achievements relevant to the post; a confirmed job offer that is relevant to his / her academic qualifications or work experience that cannot be readily taken up by the local work force; and a remuneration package that is broadly commensurate with the prevailing market level for professionals in HK.

Proofs of the applicant's employment contract, the sponsor company’s Business Registration documents and financial standing will also be required. Documents like brochures, catalogues and details of membership of relevant associations will be favoured too to clearly describe the company's background and business activities. Different case backgrounds would require different types of supporting documents to prove the necessary presence of the applicant to work in HK. Well-organized and comprehensive information presented to the HK Immigration Department is recommended in order to show the well-rounded picture to the Immigration Officer as one of the good tools to speed up the assessment process and enhance the case’s success rate.

 

4. What Documents Do I Need to Submit for Applying for an Investment as Entrepreneurs Visa?

Details, with proof, of the applicant’s academic qualifications, experience and achievements relevant to the post; and the applicant’s proposed business activities and substantial contribution to be made in HK, like business plan, business turnover, financial resources, investment sum, number of jobs created locally and introduction of new technology or skills, etc. will be required.

In addition to the above-mentioned documents, other information / documents in support of the application may be required in individual cases, since different case backgrounds would require different types of supporting documents to prove the necessary presence of the applicant to work in HK. Therefore, looking for an experienced firm to take care of your application with all required documents well-prepared and follow up closely with the Officer could be good to enhance your case’s success rate.

 

5. My Job is Unpaid, Can I Take up This Employment Before Visa Approval?

No, you cannot do so. Whether you deliver the work to a company with or without remuneration, an application for an Employment Visa should be submitted to and issued by the Immigration Department prior to the person travelling to HK, which means you should wait until your Employment Visa is granted before formally relocating to HK in pursuit of the employment. Otherwise, the employer would be liable to a maximum fine of HK$350,000 and three years' imprisonment; and the employee would also be liable to prosecution and upon conviction face a maximum fine of HK$50,000 and up to two years' imprisonment, even if the work is in volunteering or charity nature.

 

6. Are All Holders of a Valid Work Visa with Non-permanent HKID Card Lawfully Employable?

Not really. For example, if a work visa holder needs to change the employer from one to another, he / she is required to inform the Immigration Department for such change request and has to wait until the approval is officially granted before he / she could be on board for the new employer. The assessment would depend on many different factors, including the work field that the applicant is going to participate in, the new sponsor’s company background, etc. Failing to follow the rules, the employer would be liable to a maximum fine of HK$150,000 and one year imprisonment; and the employee would also be liable to prosecution and upon conviction face a maximum fine of HK$50,000 and up to two years' imprisonment.

 

7. If I Don’t Know Much about HK Visas, Is There Any Consultation Available?

Sure, we have the professional working visa team in here which has handled hundreds of cases each year, with over 10 years of experience in this field. Our counsellors are proficient in providing accurate direction and recommendation to you during a face-to-face meetup discussion of your case scenario. In the meeting, please bring along your sponsor company’s background information and your updated resume for our evaluation use. After this consultation meeting, if you confirm to go ahead with us for handling your working visa application, the consultation fees could be rebated in the working visa package (rebate is valid within 1 month).

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