The Hong Kong investment visa approvability test is extremely onerous when compared to other Hong Kong visa categories.
Brand new businesses which do pass the test and end up supporting the investment visa of the entreprenuer owner are often really ‘slam dunk’ cases.
This tends to mean that, so long as the investor has a solid plan for the business, a half decent sum of capital to deploy, is clearly going to be creating local jobs, has a good track record and enjoys the support of a local Hong Kong contact or a network in place, then the investment visa application consideration process for such an applicant might be said to be akin to a box-ticking exercise and the application will be quickly approved without very much ado.
Therefore, it’s the marginal investor who usually has to work hard for an approval.
This post sets out in brief, three case examples by way of general guidance which serve to illustrate the type of investment visa applications that will typically struggle to approval.
The first involved a French lady in her early 30s.
She determined that she would like to apply for an investment visa to support her trading fancy good products between France and China.
A Hong Kong limited liability company was established with the typical and standard share capital of 10,000 Hong Kong dollars which she owns 100% outright.
She conducts her trading business from her apartment in Wanchai and was turning over approximately 300,000 Hong Kong dollars a month. She had no local staff working for her nor did her business plan anticipate that any would be needed.
She had secured the rights to a French fashion product for Northeast Asia but that product itself is from a relatively small company and did not, on the face of it, appear to be a particularly compelling commercial proposition, although the potential was always there.
In this situation, the nature of the business and the way the one-person operation was to be run along with the simple intrepot trading nature of the enterprise that the Hong Kong Immigration Department concluded that this lady would not be able to make a substantial contribution to the economy of Hong Kong.
The second general example involves a German man who is a very talented linguist.
He spoke seven languages and saw the potential to establish a simultaneous interpretation service in Hong Kong.
The growth for the business involved marketing and business promotion activities principally via the internet and personal referral.
As the business was to only operate from home and relied exclusively on the personal service capability dealing with himself, this investment visa would never be approved as there as little, if any, investment per se and the contribution to Hong Kong would only be marginal and not substantial.
The business had no potential for scalability and the only party that will really benefit from the business would be the applicant himself.
The third, and final, example refers to a current Hong Kong resident who is here on an Employment Visa sponsored by his UK employer who transferred him to the UK three years ago.
Six months prior, he resigned from his job in order to begin a website development company.
He did the right thing by submitting his application to the Immigration Department right at the outset of his plans and so they were on side with him and from the get-go.
The business is well funded and each of the four cornerstones to the business investment approval was present from the outset.
As the processing time for Business Investment Visa is 4 to 6 months, by the time the Immigration Department came around to give him the decision of his application, the business had not actually materialized in the manner envisaged and in fact was struggling to get clients and make sales.
Five months into the venture, he was running out of cash and his reserves were at a complete stretch.
So, whilst at the outset the business looked was promising, by the time the decision came down it become more than obvious to both him and the Immigration Department that it was not going to work out.
For this reason, his investment visa was denied.
As it happened, this client closed down his business and found a job locally in Hong Kong. He was able to secure an Employment Visa based on his new job offer and was not in any way negatively impacted by the prior refusal of his investment visa application.
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How about you? Have you had an investment visa refused? Please let us know how you managed the situation in the wake of this disappointing outcome? Did you finagle an acceptable result in the end? Have your say below!