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Hong Kong Employment Visa Holder – Join in a Side Business or Change Visa Category to a Full Investment Visa – Which is Better?

May 4th, 2022

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


 This question raises quite a number of issues surrounding a decision to go into business for yourself in Hong Kong whilst presently holding an employment visa sponsored by a third party employer (and it’s only the immigration parts which I am qualified to address).


Hello Stephen,

I have an employment visa for the remaining two years (post which I will complete 7 years and apply for PR).

Currently, I wish to open a company in Hong Kong, which may or may not be the sponsor to my own visa, as I am happy to retain the current employment or give it up.

My current employer is flexible and has no conflict no matter what way I choose.

For my own company setup, can you please inform:

(1) Is there a way to work for both companies without having to go through ‘Change of sponsorship‘ or ‘Investment visa‘ process. I prefer to be on the employment visa by my current employer while still being able to contribute to my own company.

(2) In case if above is not workable and I cannot work for my own company, is a proprietorship structure fine if I need an entity to book revenues resulting from my own business activities? Can such a company have offshore/zero employees except for a company secretary?

(3) In case, I choose a limited liability company and seek a change of sponsorship of my employment visa under my new company, can they reduce my existing visa to 1 year (from 2 years which is the case now), if the new company is subject to a Business Review. Have such cases happened?

(4) Given that I have no visa concerns or conflict/flexibility concerns regarding my current employer,  would you recommend a Hong Kong incorporated company or a BVI company for basic revenue booking needs?

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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.

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