I have made known my feelings about the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme in other posts on this Blog but, every once in a while, I get a question from a reader which allows me to add a bit more knowledge to the QMAS programme and I am grateful for the opportunity to share further with you. This time, about the conditions for a first extension. Please read through the following dialogue.
Hi, I have been granted a HK QMAS visa. My first year is due to expire in March 2013.
I am currently in South Africa and don’t yet have a job in Hong Kong.
I plan to go to HK in January 2013 to prospect business opportunities and establish the frameworks for a venture funding business.
Can you tell me whether having a company in the early stages of establishment will be enough to renew my QMAS for an additional 2 years?
Thanks for your email.
I assume you were admitted under the general points test?
If so, you need to get your skates on.
To get your first extension to your QMAS visa you need to show that you have taken steps to settle in Hong Kong by taking up residence here, e.g. by securing gainful employment or establishing a business.
It is not sufficient to have just the bare essentials of a company in play (which is easily achieved by merely buying a shelf company, writing up a business plan and funding the bank account of the company to the tune of 6 months cashflow needed to finance the business) but you also need to show that you are actually resident in the HKSAR.
If you have good reason for why you’re ‘late’ in getting off the mark/taking up residence in Hong Kong, that will no doubt prove acceptable.
However, the QMAS programme is subject to a quota system.
If the HKID conclude you’re not actively in the throes of settlement, they may not agree to extend you.
So a January kick-off with a first renewal date of March is cutting it very fine indeed.
Thanks for your message. Very useful info.
Yes I am under the general points test.
My current business is consulting and advisory to tech based and software start-ups throughout Asia.
In some cases I also take small investment stakes in new ventures and board positions.
My past year has been occupied with laying the groundwork for launching a small cap seed stage venture capital and advisory firm to capitalise on Asia’s mobile and internet growth.
I envisage Hong Kong to be a base for investing both in HK and the wider Asian region.
However, given my foreign investors’ locations and the outside of Hong Kong groundwork that needs to be put in, basing myself out of HK at this early stage is not feasible.
I am now at a stage where the bulk of the groundwork and due diligence has been done and I am now comfortable with establishing a business there.
While I understand ImmD’s requirement re taking up residence, is there any requirement that that this needs to be done by a certain time i.e. is there a minimum amount of time that they like to see that you have taken up residence in HK?
And what proof do they like to see?
The ID(E)982 Guidance Notes appear not to require any documentation showing that you have taken up residence, just merely that you either have a Hong Kong employer (bank account, employment contract, pay slips) or have established a business.
Will they take into consideration work done out of Hong Kong to establish yourself there so long as you have attempted to settle in at the time of QMAS renewal?
I guess the frustration for me is the sheer amount of time ImmD has taken to process the QMAS visa (over a year in my case) which leaves me in limbo and scuppers other opportunities arising during the time it took for ImmD to process my application.
Thanks for your help. Much appreciated.
FOLLOW UP RESPONSE
There is no specific time (it is not hard and fast) but you need to show you have taken active steps towards taking up residence in Hong Kong.
This means that you need to have a residence here and, by this, it is a clear indication that you have begun your act of settling in Hong Kong.
That it took you a while to get going is not an issue in of itself, so long as you can set out how your delayed life in Hong Kong has been as a direct consequence of your business establishment preparations (timing driven by the unpredictable nature of the QMAS process itself), but all of that is now behind you as you have now manifestly relocated to the HKSAR as evidenced in the documentation you submit which speaks to your new business and the place where you lay your head each night is definitively ‘your home’.
The longer you leave it, the greater your burden of proof.