New Content Daily Sign Up Here

Your Questions Answered

Can You Remain In Hong Kong Under An Employment Visa Sponsored By An Ex-Employer & Run A Hong Kong Sole Proprietorship Providing Services Outside Of Hong Kong (Mostly)?

April 3rd, 2024

Posted in Employment Visas, Investment Visas, The Hong Kong Visa Geeza, Your Question Answered /


Remain in Hong Kong under an Employment Visa sponsored by an ex-Employer? Unusual set of facts in this case and a question never posed to me in this fashion previously…

Employment Visa


I have been in Hong Kong since 2011 under an employment visa but have recently quit my job.

The last time my visa was renewed it was extended until November 2018 and I understand I still have the privilege to reside in Hong Kong until then even if my employment has ended.

I now have a consultancy agreement with a firm based in Singapore for which I provide services independently.

The fieldwork (which represents 80% of the work) takes place outside of Hong Kong, I only write up my reports from home in Hong Kong.

I have registered a sole proprietorship business to report the consultancy income for tax purposes.

However, I guess I am not supposed to work under the current conditions of my stay.

My questions are:

(1) Could the fact of reporting that income to the tax authorities actually trigger some issues on the immigration side?

(2) If I was to apply for a business investment visa as an entrepreneur and it was rejected, could that trigger the Immigration Department to cancel my current permission of stay until November 2018?

What is in your opinion the best thing to do?


The employment visa that you have presently has been granted to you on the strength that you are permitted to work in Hong Kong for your nominated employer and your nominated employer alone. As you’ve correctly understood, even though you have a valid limit of stay that stretches all the way through to 2018, you’re privileged to work for anybody in Hong Kong other than yourself.

Given that you have established a business – which you’ve done through the establishment of your sole proprietorship, essentially you’ve breached your conditions of stay at that point, and given that you’re spending 80% of your time on field work outside of Hong Kong, engaging in employment activities outside of Hong Kong doesn’t mitigate the fact that you will spend the 20% of the remainder of your time in Hong Kong actually undertaking employment activities for your own sole proprietorship business.

So, clearly, in the circumstances that you find yourself right now, you are breaching your conditions of stay as a result of you not merely residing in Hong Kong but having established a business here. So, clearly you’ve got to think about bringing your circumstances into compliance as soon as you possibly can.

Additionally, the fact that you have established a sole proprietorship certainly could alert the Immigration Department to the fact of you having established that business, as the Immigration Department and Inland Revenue Department are able to exchange information if they so wish;  whether that’s an automatic exchange of information or whether it’s done on specific query or not is question that remains open being part of the Security Bureau; clearly I don’t have privileged access to how those government departments work but, nevertheless, my best advice to you is to make an application to adjust your status from sponsored employment through to business investment in your own right. I won’t go into the details of how you go about satisfying the approvability test for that business investment visa, because I’ve dealt with that quite extensively elsewhere on the site.

In terms of the Immigration Department potentially refusing any such business investment visa application as an entrepreneur and then yanking, as it were, the rug from under your feet and then giving you a shorter limit of stay, I suspect that that’s probably not going to happen to you; it doesn’t appear to be the Immigration Department standard practice in those circumstances. If they say no to business investment, it means that they are not satisfied that you can make a substantial contribution to the economy of Hong Kong on the basis of your business plan and the other information that you have put forward. So, if you do get denied, you do have an opportunity to have another go at it on the basis of a reconsideration, and if you get it right the second time, then you are on your way.

So, just to wrap it all up – yes, you are not permitted to actually engage in the activities that you’ve presently configured yourself for, given that you’ve left your employment of your previous sponsor.

VisaGeeza.Ai – Making Hong Kong Immigration A Lot Easier

Employment Visa

VisaGeeza.Ai – 13 Years In The Making

Check Out VisaGeeza.Ai

All Our Know-How : All Our Experience : Fully Interactive

100% FREE!

More Stuff You May Find Useful Or Interesting

The Economy At Home Is Very Bad – So What Investment Visa Options Exist For You In Hong Kong?

I Have A Socially Advantageous Yet Modestly Capitalized Business Plan For Hong Kong – Will I Get An Investment Visa?

What’s The Situation About The Need For Business Premises As Part Of Your Hong Kong Investment Visa Application?

What’s The Minimum Capital Required For A Hong Kong Investment Visa?

10 Must Have Resources For A Successful Hong Kong Investment Visa Application




Please select the social network you want to share this page with:

The Hong Kong Visa Geeza (a.k.a Stephen Barnes) is a co-founder of the Hong Kong Visa Centre and author of the Hong Kong Visa Handbook. A law graduate of the London School of Economics, Stephen has been practicing Hong Kong immigration since 1993 and is widely acknowledged as the leading authority on business immigration matters here for the last 24 years.

Handbook Contents
Professional Service Options...