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How Do I Go About Setting Up a Side Business to Complement My Full Time Hong Kong Employment Visa?

November 22nd, 2014

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Your Question Answered / 7 responses


 

Foreign national employment visa holders in Hong Kong are quite often interested in setting up a side business

Head shot of a perplexed man

QUESTION

I am currently employed full-time by a company in Hong Kong. They successfully sponsored my Hong Kong employment visa and I just started my job 2 months ago. All is going very well.

But I would like to register my own business, because I see a chance to act as middle-man for service exchange between China and Europe, and would like that to be done in an official, legal manner.

A recent podcast answer of yours said it would be possible for me to request permission to join in a “side business”.

Does a “side business” involve getting others to register the company, and joining as partner?

Or does it simply mean I can register myself but there are restrictions on what I can earn or do?

Can you please advise on how I can actually go about setting up a side business and then getting the permission of Immigration here to be able to do this?

Best regards, and thank you for sharing your expertise in this manner.

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PODCAST ANSWER

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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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RESPONSES
  • Nick

    5 Sep 2017 pm30 2:24pm
    01

    Hi, I have been trying to get a sideline visa for a while now but keep running into difficulties. I have a business registered which I did in Wan Chai a month ago. My employer is happy for me to have the side line work and I have given them the ‘investment ID999B (sponsor) form but they replied to me with the following….

    “I have checked with Immigration Department. We cannot complete the form that you provided to us yesterday.

    If you submit that application form to Immigration Department, your working visa will be changed to “ Investment as Entrepreneurs” visa, then you cannot work at our company.”

    Have they been given the wrong information or have the rules changed?

    Thank you

    • The Visa Geeza

      8 Sep 2017 am30 10:30am
      02

      Normally te ID999B sponsorship form is not needed in a side business applciation. Your main sponsorship as an employee (originally made on ID990B) remains in situ. You may have an officer who is not well versed in handling these types of cases.

      • Nick

        12 Sep 2017 pm30 12:56pm
        03

        Thank you. I have just applied for the sideline visa without the business as the office told me it was very difficult to get this visa I should apply for this one!
        Once I have set gained this visa I am hoping to switch to the business one. I think you are correct about the officers, they didn’t seem to be able to answer my questions or advise on the sideline business.

  • Adam

    20 Mar 2017 am31 10:18am
    04

    Thank you for this podcast answer. It has been very helpful. I am interested to start up a graphic design side business to complement my visa-sponsored full-time university job in HK.

    Do you have any example letters for 1) the no objection letter from my full-time employer, and 2) the letter of business intent and benefit to HK economy? I am guessing these are fairly straightforward letters to write, but as with any official business with HK immigration, I want to get it right the first time – so any help you can provide would be very much appreciated. Thank you!

    • The Visa Geeza

      21 Mar 2017 pm31 10:25pm
      05

      The no objection letter simply states “We have no objection to our sponsored employee XXX joining in the side business of….” There is no template as such for business intent and benefit – that is where you write up your argument. See our template cover letter for a full investment visa application to get the gist: http://www.hongkongvisahandbook.com/business-investment-visa/application-templates/

  • Jason

    24 Dec 2016 pm31 12:07pm
    06

    Hello

    I am currently in Hong Kong on a sponsored visa (nearly 4 years) and have now set up a registered company in Hong Kong.

    My girlfriend is currently in Hong Kong on a 30 day visit and I would like to be able to sponsor her (through my company) to obtain the necessary working visa and start working in Hong Kong.

    Can you please advise the steps that I should be taking for this? Also, would it be easier if she applies for an Entrepreneur visa?

    Are there any special requirements that I should be considering?

    Many Thanks
    Jason

    • The Visa Geeza

      27 Dec 2016 am31 9:39am
      07

      Lots of problems here:

      1 – If you hold a sponsored employment visa yourself then you yourself need to get permission of ImmD to establish this business – your employment visa does to allow you to start this business without getting your own set of approvals (see: http://www.hongkongvisageeza.com/tag/join-in-a-side-business/).

      2 – As the company is newly set up you’re going to have to demonstrate that it can be a suitable and credible sponsor for a foreign nationals’ employment visa permissions. This is much like seeking approval as an entrepreneur (see: http://www.hongkongvisageeza.com/hong-kong-investment-visa-the-3-legs-of-the-application-approvability-stool/)

      3 – You will definitely have to demonstrate that your girlfriend as applicant is a Professional for the purposes of the General Employment Policy and also that no local person could reasonably be expected to up take the work.

      4 – I can’t comment on whether or not she should be applying as an Entrepreneur as I know nothing about your plans for the business, the ownership interests in it nor have sufficient information to determine the likelihood of a successful outcome.

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