Hong Kong Visas Made Easy


Jan 2020

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

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Your Question Answered / 18 responses

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


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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Jan 2020

How Does Time Spent Between Residence Visas Impact on Your Eligibility for the Right of Abode in Hong Kong Subsequently?

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Long Stay & PR, Your Question Answered / No responses

First Published December 3, 2014

Does time spent ‘between’ residence impact on your eligibility for the Right of Abode in Hong Kong after 7 years ?


I am a Canadian citizen living and working in Hong Kong for the last 4 years.

My employment has ended and I have not yet been able to obtain a new offer of employment in order to arrange for a change of sponsorship.

Since my authorization for stay expires on 4 January 2015, I anticipate I will need to exit and re-enter as a visitor in order to continue looking for employment.

With a mind towards eventually hopefully applying for PR status, am considering the possibility of registering for language lessons in a suitable program and applying for a student visa.

The provider has verified they can sponsor a student visa for a certain length of course.

I am still under my current apartment contract in Hong Kong.

My question is, if I can file the student visa application on or before the expiration date of the work visa, will that be sufficient to support a claim later to claim the time as ‘ordinarily resident‘ in Hong Kong until I can find other suitable employment?

What if the student visa application is filed within 2-3 weeks after the expiration of the employment visa?

Finally, will transitioning from employment, to student, back to employment visa be a liability in an eventual PR application, or will ImmD only look at the fact that the time in HKSAR has been covered by residence visas with only minor ‘visitor’ breaks in the middle while the paper work is being processed by Immigration Tower?

So, all things considered, does time spent ‘between’ residence visas like this impact on eligibility for the right of abode in Hong Kong allowing me to qualify for PR after all?

Thank you.

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Jan 2020

Has the Hong Kong Immigration Department Tightened Up On Applicants With Criminal Records Recently?

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Family Visas, Investment Visas, Long Stay & PR, Special Programmes, Visitor Visas, Your Question Answered / No responses

The question of criminal records and how they impact on Hong Kong visa applications keeps cropping up…


Hi, I have previously lived in Hong Kong, once as a student so obviously held a student visa and then a couple of years later working there so had an employment visa.

I’m a Canadian citizen and have a criminal record for theft dating back almost 20 years to my youth! I have no criminal convictions since this time.

With my previous student/employment visas in Hong Kong I don’t even remember being asked if I had criminal convictions.

However, I plan on returning to Hong Kong later this year to work again and am slightly worried immigration may have tightened up and may refuse me on this basis.

Guess my question is, will I be asked about criminal convictions in Canada?

And if I am will it prevent me from being granted an employment visa?

Also, will the fact that I’ve previously lived in Hong Kong twice and held visas there mean they might go easier when granting another? 

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Jan 2020

Training, Employment or Working Holiday – What’s the Best Hong Kong Visa Option for a Recently Graduated British National?

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Special Programmes, Your Question Answered / No responses

First Published May 9, 2014

British nationals got an early Christmas present with the Hong Kong Working Holiday Scheme in December 2013


Hi Stephen,

From  May through November 2013 I was employed in a well known and large company in Hong Kong under the training visa for a period of 6 months.

During the end of this tenure the company decided to offer me a permanent position however I had to apply for this job under the employment visa.

Unfortunately this was rejected, as the Immigration Department feel this is a job that can be taken up locally.

I’m 23 years old with one years work experience after graduating from university but really want to stay in Hong Kong now I have embedded myself within the team I was working in and learning all the appropriate skills and practices for the role I was undertaking.

I have now become a highly valued member of my working team.

I want to ask whether already having a training visa then having a working visa rejected would affect my chances of  getting a working holiday visa?

I also have the option to move to Dubai where I have been granted a visa which can be used as a stop gap to get more experience then look to re-apply in Hong Kong.

But as my primary desire is to stay in Hong Kong can I use the working holiday visa as an additional years experience until the time comes that I need to re-apply for a working visa next year?

And how should I re-apply for that differently?

Can you kindly advise what is the best course of action?


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Jan 2020

How Much & What Type of Work Experience Post-Graduation is Actually Needed to Get a Hong Kong Work Visa?

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Your Question Answered / No responses

First Published February 13, 2015

At least 2 years post-graduation working experience in a managerial or supervisory capacity is required to be deemed a Professional in order to qualify for a Hong Kong work visa under the General Employment Policy….


Dear Visa Geeza,

Thank you for maintaining such an informative site! It has been a great help to me understanding where I stand. However, I am hoping you might be able to clarify something a little more about what it means to qualify as a professional under the General Employment Policy.

Namely, I want to get a better idea of how much the “relevant skills, knowledge, or experience” applies to the 2 years of post graduate experience, specifically.

Let me give you a bit of background for my current situation,

I graduated in the summer of 2012 from a well-known British university with a professional undergraduate degree.

I worked full-time afterwords for a year (summer 2012 – summer 2013), after which I was offered a job with a multi-national company in Hong Kong / China in July 2013, in a position that is exactly in-line with my undergraduate qualifications / major.

Initially, my company tried to apply for my work visa in Hong Kong. At that time both my employer and I were unaware of the two year post-graduation experience requirement, and I submitted to them both that I had graduated only one year ago, and that I only had one year of post graduate experience.

As should have been expected, I was denied an employment visa. After being denied, and appealing one time to be denied a second time. After then researching more, I discovered the two-year clause. At that time there was, obviously, nothing I could do about that. My company promptly helped me obtain a work visa in mainland china, and I began to work there in January of 2014.

It has now been a year working for my company in mainland China, and both they and I would like me to be relocated to the Hong Kong office, now that I theoretically have 2 years of post-graduate experience.

There is one catch however: that year of experience before my current employer, though what I would consider “professional” – solid post graduate education was required, and were also of “supervisory nature”, it however was not totally in-line with my major.

My real questions are as follows:

  1. How would the immigration officer consider my previous post-graduate experience, and how in-line does it need to be with my major and my current employer’s requirement? Especially considering that this is an intra-company transferee, and so my last year experience is especially relevant.
  2. It has been a year since my reconsideration was denied, and I also lost my passport since, meaning I have a different passport number now. what does this mean for the status of my previous file? Would it possibly considered as a new application or a reconsideration (as I know for the latter, it would take a more vigorous argument)?

If you could possibly be extra detailed on how post-graduate experience is evaluated in light of Employment as a Professional, I would be deeply appreciative!

Also, if I have specific skills that my employer values highly, can this take any weight off of my previous not-so-relevant experience?

Have I got a chance here?

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Jan 2020

Does the Hong Kong Immigration Department Positively Consider Family Reunion as a Factor to Employment Visa Grant?

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Family Visas, Your Question Answered / No responses

Employment visa grant? What do the Hong Kong Immigration Department take into account exactly when considering an application for an employment visa where the applicant has recently divorced from a Hong Kong resident?


I have been in Hong Kong for two years and have recently divorced.  I have care and custody of our two children. 

My Ex husband is remaining in Hong Kong and I want to remain as well. 

I have until August 2020 to secure employment and an independent visa.  

I do not have a university degree and have not worked for over 10 years. 

My question is will immigration take into account personal circumstances, i.e.  keeping families together, when reviewing my visa when I do secure a job? 

Can I easily get a Hong Kong work visa if my young children live there?

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Jan 2020

Can I Set Up a Hong Kong Company, Employ My Business Partner & Sponsor an Employment Visa For Him?

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Investment Visas, Your Question Answered / No responses

The answer to this question is multi-part and ultimately driven by the challenges associated with a New Business Situation


I am based in Hong Kong and would like your advice on visa applications for a friend.  

A friend of mine, who is based in the US and I have been discussing a business opportunity for Hong Kong and I wanted to know the best way for him to secure a working visa.

We had discussed me setting up the company and then employing him and subsequently sponsor an employment visa through the company.

Would that work?

The alternative would be for him to apply for an investment visa as he would be the brains behind the operation.

Please can you let me know which option would be best or which would be more successful?
Another friend of mine who set up her own recruitment agency here in Hong Kong said that as an expat setting up a company you are unable to employ someone from overseas for the first year of your business being operational.

Is that also correct?
Any light you could shed on this would be greatly appreciated.

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