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If I Get A Hong Kong Investment Visa Can I Consult To A Single Client Only As A Pseudo-Employee?

February 22nd, 2024

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


Just how ‘flexible is the Hong Kong investment visa?


I’m Swedish and currently in the process of applying for a Hong Kong investment visa.

In addition, I have an interview for a consulting position with another organization. They will not support me with an employment visa and have asked me if I can also work with an investment visa.

The answer I got from immigration was that I cannot take up a full-time position when holding only an investment visa and that I should instead apply for a work visa. I was wondering if there is any possibility or workaround?

The consulting position is related to my start-up, so I thought about asking the organization to contract my company as a consultant.

I would appreciate your advice on my case.


When you get an Investment Visa for Hong Kong, you essentially have persuaded the Immigration Department that you’re in a position to substantially contribute to the economy of Hong Kong; on the other hand, if you take an Employment Visa from the Immigration Department, you’ve satisfied them that you possess a special set of skills, knowledge, or experience of value to and not readily available in Hong Kong.

Therefore, the question that begs to be answered is: if you secure an investment visa and then the circumstances in your business change to the extent that you now have an opportunity to work for a single client providing Consulting Services, is it lawful to engage in that kind of activity given that you’ve got an investment Visa predicated on a much wider array of anticipated commercial objectives and activities that you’ve engaged in?

The short answer to this questions is no, you can’t get an investment visa and then go into a Consulting Arrangement one to one which is for all practical purposes a pseudo-employment. In other words, if you get an investment visa and your plans change after your approval it’s okay to pivot your business if you’re moving on to perhaps do other things or pursue objectives that are slightly different or at least adjacent to those which were originally covered in your approval for your Investment Visa, but it’s different if after approval all of a sudden you want to use your Investment Visa as a mean to join in what is reality is a one-man-business providing Consulting Services to a single employer (client) in this instance.

So, the short answer is no, you can’t use the investment visa to work for a single employer on a Consulting Basis.

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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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