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Can I Employ Myself Via A Hong Kong Business Investment Visa (Or Any Other Way)?

July 17th, 2023

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Investment Visas, Your Question Answered / 13 responses


Can I Employ Myself?

Can I Employ Myself

Updated July 2023

Can I employ mself? This is a typical question about what is really a Hong Kong business investment (entrepreneur) visa application – but most often people don’t know, understandably enough, how to couch it…

Can I Employ Myself? – QUESTION


I’m interested in getting HK residence permit (working visa). Please advise what’s the easiest, fastest and cheapest way to do it.

My idea is to register Hong Kong based company and who will hire myself as a director.

Am I able to be self-employed expat in HK or it’s wise to use nominee shareholder services?

What are the minimal salary criteria in my case?

How long will it take?”

Can I Employ Myself? – ANSWER

I’m afraid there is no easy, fast or cheap way to secure Hong Kong residency on the basis you are mooting. Please find the following collection of resources covering this subject:

One man businesses

Idea of self-sponsorship and use of nominees.

Newcomer’s guide to employment visas in Hong Kong

Please also see the Investment Visa Information sheet on the Hong Kong Visa Handbook.

And this Case Study which speaks to one businesses and how we eventually got their visas approved.

Can I Employ Myself? – FOLLOW UP QUESTION

“Many thanks for your prompt reply, useful links and awesome infographics. It’s getting much more clear now.

Well, I’m definitely not planning to invest HK$10M in the next some yeas to get an Investments visa. Because I’m just not able to do this.

You’re saying that it’s not a good idea to use nominee shareholders because HK immigration authorities might discover this fact and it will take a lot of efforts to approve this new company as a valid sponsor.

So for now it seems (please correct me if I’m not right) that cheapest and easiest way to get HK RP for me is to:

– find a local sponsor, private person, or

– get a job in an existing company

Regarding sponsor, I have a friend in HK who is probably able to be my sponsor (using my own funds).

But getting a job seems to be an easiest solution so far.

I believe there are some companies known to the HKID that you might also know who are stable enough and can hire me as employee and start paying me salary (using my own funds). I hope that you can recommend me this kind of company, probably one of your customers can help me.

I’m well known in my industry (internet technology) as a noted professional (proper references from worldwide known companies could be provided) so I assume that there is a chance for me to be be admitted as qualified migrant.

As an example, my Italian residence permit is based on ‘high skilled migrants’ immigration program, so most of the documents confirming my skills are ok and we can try use them in future in HK.

Please let me know if I understand everything in a proper way and we can proceed somehow.”

Can I Employ Myself? – FOLLOW UP ANSWER

Unless you have a pre-existing consulting business overseas which you intend to ‘relocate’ to Hong Kong and support that relocation with resources to pass the investment visa approvability test (as detailed on the Visa Information PDF I sent you previously) the only option will be for you to secure a genuine job  offer in Hong Kong from an independent third party employer and in the context of that job offer pass the employment visa approvability test as detailed here.

There is no option of having a Hong Kong resident,  in his private capacity, of sponsoring you for residence permissions in Hong Kong unless you are legal family.

You can find information on the Quality Migrant Scheme here. In my experience, unless you have at least 125 points, you’re unlikely to get in the running for an eventual approval – but you will never know if you don’t try.

Since early 2023, you can also consider the Top Talent Pass visa.

Can I Employ Myself  As A “Talent” Via The Top Talent Pass Visa?

The Hong Kong Top Talent Pass visa is a type of visa ecompassess the spirit of the Talent List, which refers to a list of in-demand professions and skills that the Hong Kong government aims to attract from around the world to support its economic development. The Talent List is used to determine eligibility under various admission schemes, including the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS), the General Employment Policy (GEP), the Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals (ASMTP), and the Top Talent Pass Scheme. By targeting these specific professions, Hong Kong aims to attract high-skilled foreign nationals who can contribute to the region’s economic growth and competitiveness.

To pursue acquiring a Hong Kong Top Talent Pass visa, you can follow a step-by-step process outlined in the Hong Kong Visa Application Roadmap. This roadmap is a comprehensive guide for making any Hong Kong immigration application and covers various aspects such as assessing circumstances, current immigration status, visa type, sponsorship, and application methods. It works hand-in-hand with the Hong Kong Visa Handbook, which provides detailed information and guidance on the visa application process.

To learn more about the Top Talent Pass visa and the application process, you can refer to the following resources:

1. [Talent List]( This website provides information about the Talent List and the in-demand professions and skills targeted by the Hong Kong government. It offers insights into the eligibility criteria and requirements for different admission schemes, including the Top Talent Pass Scheme.

2. [Hong Kong Visa Geeza]( This includes information about the occupations in demand list for a Hong Kong QMAS application. While it specifically mentions the QMAS application, it provides insights into the Talent List and its relevance to various admission schemes, including the Top Talent Pass Scheme.

By referring to these resources, you can gain a comprehensive understanding of the Top Talent Pass visa, its eligibility criteria, and the step-by-step process to secure this visa. It is important to carefully assess your circumstances and fully understand the requirements before proceeding with your visa application.

Remember, the Hong Kong Visa Application Roadmap and the Hong Kong Visa Handbook are valuable resources that can provide detailed guidance and answer any specific questions you may have regarding the Top Talent Pass visa application process.

Can I Employ Myself – One Final Point …

What you are proposing in our QnA above about using your own funds to contrive an employment would involve you making misrepresentations to the Hong Kong Immigration Department on the part of the ‘employer’, yourself and my firm.

This is illegal and neither my firm nor I will play any part in such a scheme and I urge you to readjust your expectations as to how to go about becoming a lawful Hong Kong resident.

As I have stated, there is no easy, fast or cheap way to secure residence in the HKSAR. There only the legal way.

I trust this advice guides you accordingly.

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But Stephen, How Do You Make Any Money If You Give Away All Of Your Hong Kong Visa Expertise Away For Free?


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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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