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If I Have A Hong Kong Dependant Visa Can I Work Here For A Foreign Company Even Though They Have Not Registered As A Business In Hong Kong?

March 30th, 2024

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


This question mainly relates to business rather than immigration law but is still an important question nonetheless…

hong kong dependant visa



I have a Hong Kong  dependant visa that gives me the right to work in Hong Kong. I have been offered a Regional Asia role based out of Hong Kong by a Canadian company.

This company is not registered in Hong Kong.

Can I work for them as sole proprietor under my Hong Kong dependant visa ? Or do they need to register as a limited company?

If they register here can I work for them on my Hong Kong dependant visa?

Appreciate your help.


Strictly speaking, from an immigration perspective, there is no preclusion to you taking up employment with any party in Hong Kong, because the legal dependent visa effectively gives you carte blanche approval to engage in any kind of activity in Hong Kong so long as it’s lawful and as long as you continue to remain under the sponsorship of your spouse – the principal employment visa holder.

The issue really here is the question of how you go about ensuring that you personally and the activity that you engage in is lawful from the perspective of your income, because you do need to be reporting the results of your work activity to the Inland Revenue Department.

And normally, if you’re an out and out employee, your employer is registered as a business here, and the act of registering as a business allows the Inland Revenue Department to be put on notice that you should be sent a tax assessment for the work that you do working for that registered business in Hong Kong, and given that your proposed employer doesn’t have a registered business in Hong Kong, the question is begged as to how you will be able to ensure that your income is reported to the Inland Revenue Department so that you are compliant with revenue law. And as you’ve alluded to in your question, registering as a sole proprietorship is the way forward, simply because there is no other way for the Inland Revenue department to understand, essentially how you’ve been earning your living, and by registering as a sole proprietor, getting a business registration certificate, the money that you receive from that overseas entity will be recorded in your hands as income, and after due allowances have been made for expenses as a registered sole proprietor, then you’ll have at the end of the exercise an accessible income to tax and you’ll pay a tax on that.

But insofar as the registration requirements of the proposed employer in this regard, as long as they are not going to be carrying on a business here and the work that you do will be as an independent contractor representing the interests of that foreign business, then there is no preclusion or issue at all in terms of how you will be working for them so long as you yourself is registered as a sole proprietor, and you report your income to the Inland Revenue Department in that fashion. I hope you found that useful.

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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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