Sometimes, though not very often, the corporate entity sponsoring an employment visa for a foreign national employee working in Hong Kong, may undergo a reorganisation or a repositioning in relation to its operations here and, consequently, it can be no longer said that the party serving as the sponsor of the original visa permissions, is the party that is actively engaging the services of the employee nor indeed (possibly) even carrying on a business in the HKSAR any longer.
An example of this could be where a foreign company sets up an entirely new commercial operation in Hong Kong and transfers an employee from their overseas business to oversee their market entry activities here.
As part of this exercise, the company will have applied for and secured an employment visa for their inter-company transferee staff and the business is now well and truly off to the races.
However, soon after, the advisors in the home country realize that the manner in which the Hong Kong entity has been established is not advantageous for taxation purposes and seek to reconfigure the international group structure before the business goes too far down the commercial path it is treading.
Consequently, they decide to incorporate a new, alternate Hong Kong entity, owned and configured in a fashion that is different from that disclosed to the Hong Kong Immigration Department at the time that its bona fides as a suitable sponsor for foreign national employment visa permissions was being established when the inter company transferee visa approval was granted to their first staff in Hong Kong.
In this situation, the employee and employer have an obligation to report these material change in circumstances to the Immigration Department and, in the process, undergo what is known as a Technical Change of Sponsorship application.
This requires the employer and the employee reporting the facts of what has gone on corporately, submitting information setting out the details of the change in sponsoring entity and also evidence that, for all practical purposes, the terms and conditions of the sponsored employee’s employment in Hong Kong have not changed at all as a result of this international corporate reconfiguration.
This type of application usually takes 3-4 weeks to finalise and is processed via the Resident’s section on the 5th floor of Immigration Tower down in Wanchai.