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Can You Freelance or Start Your Own Business Under a Hong Kong Working Holiday Visa?

October 16th, 2022

Posted by / in Investment Visas, Special Programmes, Your Question Answered / 5 responses


Can you freelance or start your own business under a Hong Kong working holiday visa?


The working holiday visa for Hong Kong is designed for certain types of employment activity – but does this include freelance work or starting or your own business?

First Published On April 15, 2013



I have recently moved to Hong Kong with my partner (who has an employment visa) and I obtained a working holiday visa for 1 year.

My plan was to get over here and then look for work opportunities and then transfer over to an appropriate visa. I registered my own company in Ireland and it looks like the most work I will do here would be as a freelancer.

Am I able to work as a freelancer on the working holiday visa or do I need to get another visa – say the investment visa?

We do plan to be here a few years.


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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.

  • Tammy

    29 Apr 2013 am30 12:07am

    I understand it would be illegal to freelance locally in Hong Kong whilst on the Working Holiday Visa, but what if your work and earnings are all off shore? E.g., Working for Australian clients and earning Aus dollars to your Aus bank account (and subsequently performing Aus tax return)?

    Thank You

    • The Visa Geeza

      29 Apr 2013 am30 11:38am

      Great question Tammy.

      The conditions of a Working Holiday Visa (“WHV”) anticipate that you come to Hong Kong principally for a holiday whilst at the same time being able to have a deeper experience through interacting with Hong Kong society (limited local work and study). The programme is not set up to envisage a 12 month period of stay for people who wish to continue their ‘remote’ businesses overseas whilst hanging out in Hong Kong for a year.

      But one man’s holiday is another man’s vacation so if it transpires in an individual instance that the ‘remote work’ to be performed actually forms part of the WHV holder’s ‘holiday experience’ then…

      It seems to me the real issue in this instance is what the Hong Kong Inland Revenue might make of this arrangement and in this regard, being a visa guy, I’m not qualified to comment.

      Thanks for your contribution!
      The Visa Geeza recently posted..Can I Work Remotely for an Overseas Employer Whilst I Remain in Hong Kong With My Same Sex Partner on a Prolonged Visitor Visa?My Profile


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