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Can I Go From A Hong Kong Investment Visa To An Employment Visa And Back To An Investment Visa Again?

April 22nd, 2024

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


Entrepreneurship is a fluid beast! This post deals with special situations around the Hong Kong Investment Visa.

Hong Kong Investment Visa



I was on an investment visa for a year when I started my own business and then took on a full time role with another company. 

I was transferred to an employment visa

I am now considering leaving this role and going back to actively work in my business. 

Can I apply for an investment visa for a second time or does it simply get transferred to my own company as an employment visa?


Great question and I’m so grateful to you for asking it.  I have seen this situation probably a dozen times in the last 20 years, and in every single instance the Immigration Department have come to the party and have indeed allowed a previous investment visa holder who has then changed status to an employment visa, and who then has a change of heart and decides that paid employment is not really for them and they wish to go back to their own business pursuits once more; and the Immigration Department have approved these applications, as I say. So there’s no reason to suggest that you won’t be successful in your application too.

The way that you go about it is to effectively treat the application as a change of category application going back from employment visa sponsored by a third party through to business investment on the strength of your own enterprise in Hong Kong.

The approvability test is just the same as it always is for an investment visa. That is, in light of your present circumstances, given that you once in a sense, put your business on the shelf while you went off to work for another employer. Your business now moving forward, if the Immigration Department allow you to do so, will uh, mean that you can make a substantial contribution to the economy of Hong Kong. And I’ve dealt with the investment leisure aprovability test elsewhere on the blog, so I’ll let you go and research that and understand effectively what’s required for you to be successful. However, as the essential premise of your investment visa activities were originally approved, it’s certainly feasible to expect that you’ll get approved this time around.

Generally speaking, you’ll certainly need to have at the requisite level of resources, you’re going to have to have a pathway to the creation of local employment opportunities once again, and you’re going to have to have business premises that are suitable for you and your proposed activities; the Immigration Department will effectively put you to that test. And I think, as I say, it’s fair for you to be able to pass it, but you’re also going to have to sort of plug the gap as to kind of what happened whilst you’re an employee in the business. I assume, as I mentioned, it was probably on the shelf in the meantime.

My advice therefore is for you to talk to the Immigration Department about how you sort of put the business into a deep freeze and that you are now ready to sort of bring it out into the open and go for it one more time. So, just as I say, the key thing is to pass the approvability test all over again.

The fact that you had an investment visa once previously, all goes well, on the basis that you can explain the gap as to what happened to the business during the time that you were an employee and that on the basis the Immigration Department approved you to join in this business one more time, you can make a substantial contribution to the economy of Hong Kong.

Do it on the fifth floor of Immigration Tower, via a change of category application, and you should take between, I’d say, four and six weeks to finalise.

Additionally, if your current limit of stay has got less than six months on it, use not only the ID999A application form, use also the ID91, which will allow the Immigration Department, once they approve you, to grant you an extension to your current limit of stay by a further year. As I say, assuming that you’ve got less than six months remaining on your current limit of stay, then include the ID91.

I hope you find this useful.

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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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