Hong Kong Investment Visas – One person businesses can get approved

Hong Kong Investment Visas – One person businesses can get approved

Hong Kong Investment Visas – One person businesses can get approved

We have recently had some interesting investment visa “wins” for Hong Kong that contradict the common mantra that “one-person businesses are never approved” by the Hong Kong Immigration Department (“HKID”).

The following cannot be said to apply in every single case of applying for a single-person investment visa to Hong Kong, but it does speak to the reality that such businesses CAN in fact obtain HKID approval – only if you have :

  • A compelling case to start as a sole trader.
  • Easily accessible funds to invest at a level that is slightly higher than the minimum cash flow for 6 months.
  • Dynamics in your business plan that are compelling or otherwise offer attractive or scarce “human capital” to the HKSAR.
  • Clearly an obvious intent to create local jobs eventually, if not immediately.
  • Your ducks are otherwise perfectly sorted!

With the facts slightly adjusted to protect our clients’ privacy, here are the main circumstances of 2 separate ‘one-man businesses’ that went on to secure HKID approval under our advice and with us managing the applications.

The first involved an interior design professional who had been based in Hong Kong as an employee a few years ago but was changing careers entirely to join his new business. His business was ‘him’, for all intents and purposes, but he had some ‘family IP’ that he brought to the business, which his father had applied to a similar family company in the UK for over 30 years. While his father had retired a few years ago, he was appointed to the board of our client’s sole proprietorship and was clearly going to help his son with advice and counsel. Adding 12 months worth of funds ready to invest, the support of certain contacts in Hong Kong who have indicated they will provide business for this initially one-man operation and a plan that clearly demonstrates that if the growth trajectory is achieved, they will be new jobs created Sure as night follows day, HKID agreed with the argument and approved the application without more fanfare than might be expected when there are much larger investment plans for Hong Kong.

The second instance took on a female mental health expert in a profession that did not require formal HKSAR registration and who was looking to set up a new practice after becoming tired of working in a current job in Hong Kong that was in no way related to her actual qualifications . As it happened, the business case for starting the business was always going to be nebulous – after all, she was the product and only had a limited amount of time in which to sell. Of course, at least one local job had to be created 4 months into the business plan, and the money available for investment was literally enough to create 6 months of cash flow as well. However, her area of ​​expertise was so compelling and in such short supply in the HKSAR, our advice was that the ‘substantial contribution’ element of the investment visa approval test should be argued in the context of the assistance provided to stressed Hong Kong bankers and attorneys and that her practice was never going to be a major money spinner churning out new jobs left right and center. It worked and her visa was approved twice as fast.

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