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Will Performance-Based Equity Compensation Suffice Instead of a Cash Salary for A Hong Kong Employment Visa?

August 7th, 2020

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


No one has asked me this type of question about compensation for employees for about 17 years now so I’m grateful to the questioner for raising it as she did.



I have successfully registered a business and been awarded an investment visa in Hong Kong.

The company is a start up with limited capital but big plans.

I have identified an individual I’d like to employ, have no doubt he would pass the approvability test, and don’t expect to have issues around quotas.

However my business cannot yet afford to pay a meaningful salary.

I’d like to compensate the individual with equity until such time as the business is generating enough revenue to pay market salaries – a situation both parties are completely happy with.

Is there any ability to sponsor an employment visa given this arrangement?

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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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