Entrepreneurs Settlement Visa for Hong Kong


The most managed territorial region in southern China is Hong Kong. With having population of more than 7.4 million and the area of 1,104 square kilometers, Hong Kong is 4th most densely populated nation in the world. Hong Kong does not use same government system as used in mainland China.

Initially, Hong Kong was a scattered region that was mostly populated with fishers and farmers. The reason for extensive association of people with these two fields is, easy availability of land for fields and Peng Chou Seacoast. Now this region has become a center of trade and an important financial center after developing over time. Among the list of world’s largest trading entities, Hong Kong stands at 7th position. The official currency of this region is the Hong Kong dollar (HKD). The Hong Kong dollar is world’s 13th most trading currency. By comparing USD & HKD, it turns out to be that 7.80 HDK is equal to 1 USD. As far as per capita income is concerned, this country is one of the best.

Hong Kong– from the perspective of residence

As there are advantages and disadvantages associated while moving from one place to other. The best way to adapt the foreign is that you should prepare more for less striking part of your life in foreign. You get some benefits but at the same time you may feel some discomforts, and same is the case while moving to Hong Kong. But one better news for those who wish to travel to Hong Kong is that Hong Kong is definitely among the foreign destinations where positive aspects dominate the negative ones.

Here are some benefits you can enjoy while living in Hong Kong:

  • Options for accommodations in Hong Kong are not just a few. There are plenty of options available for you if you are looking for a flat for accommodation, as need and availability of property in this region is very high.
  • In order to decorate your house while living in Hong Kong you can easily access the made-to-order furniture. There is also option to customize your furniture. The services to customize the furniture are provided by different shops in territory. You can get exact color, fabric, design, shape and your preferable size according to your desire.
  • The overseas community is very generous and friendly here. This is very diverse region and believe in diversity. The region follows the philosophy that, with new people from different regions it comes the diversity, so people are willing to help each other and make friend with newly arrived foreigners from different countries.
  • As in a diversified region with people from different countries there is a crucial need of catering them with their preferred food. So there are hotels, restaurants and clubs to cater each individual social preference.
  • There are also facilities available to comfort the people with outdoor activities. These activities specifically include hiking, water sports, different club sports and multiple sports leagues. Hong Kong is basically an island having hills and mountains covering 60% of total area. So these hills are remarkable for memorable hikes.
  • As stated earlier there are plenty of restaurants, clubs and bars in Hong Kong. And you can find a best selection of cuisine. Not only, you enjoy their food but also it is very affordable.
  • Public transport is contemporary along with private vehicles. You can use regular mass transit railway (MTR) that runs on tram.
  • Furthermore, from transport perspective, cheap taxis are also available in abundance.
  • It is not difficult task to build a social network here, in Hong Kong.

Entrepreneur settlement visa

You must be issued with an entry for Investment visa scheme, if you want to start your own business in Hong Kong as a foreign entrepreneur. This entrepreneur visa is basically a work permit for you to start a new business in Hong Kong through a legal procedure. This visa acknowledges you as an employee of your company in Hong Kong as entrepreneur.

As each country have benefits associated with investments from foreign. So, if you want to be granted this visa scheme then there are some basic requirements. First and foremost, requirement is that your company have to make a reasonable contribution in economy of Hong Kong. While one of many advantages of this scheme is that you can bring your husband/wife and unmarried dependent children having age less than 18 with you. Like many other countries in the world you can apply for permanent residency in Hong Kong after fulfilling some further requirements. The visa or work permit extension strongly belongs to performance of company. Initially it is valid for one year and you can renew it thereafter as long as company makes progress.

While attaining entrepreneur visa, your business plan matters more than your investment. As business plan is considered as primary while minimum investment requirements is considered as secondary thing. So authorities keep a close eye on your business plan and then determine that whether your investment allocation for business plan is adequate or not.

Note: while proposing a business plan, you must make sure that your business proposed investment is able to cater the initial cost of start-up and operating cost for at least 3-6 months in initial development levels.

Eligibility criteria 

Given below are some requirements to attain the visa scheme. One has to meet these criteria in order to qualify for the entrepreneur visa scheme.

  • There should be no criminal record at all associated with you. As null and void criminal record presents you as a responsible citizen.
  • You must have a sound educational background. From educational perspective it is better to have at least an undergraduate degree, but if you do not, there should be a proof of technical qualification in the form of valid documents and professional capabilities if applicable. While achievements and work experience may be used to strengthen the application.
  • As start-ups and business remain just ideas if there is no proper planning, in terms of its impacts on economy of the host country and that of investor itself. So while proposing a business plan to attain the work visa you must be in situation to prove that your business or start-up will make the huge impact on economy of Hong Kong by strengthening it. You should depict that, this business will also provide jobs for local labor force, you will employ the services of local region’s service providers, suppliers, manufacturers, distributors and so on. You should also show that this business will be able to make required contributions in the corresponding market.
  • Before you apply for an entrepreneur visa your Hong Kong company should be formed into a legal corporation. You cannot run a company or corporation in Hong Kong which provide services that are illegal in law of Hong Kong.
  • Given below is information that throws light on procedure for registering a company in Hong Kong.
  • How to register a company in Hong Kong?    
  • A company can be established by any individual having age above 18 years and this age limit is in accordance with the Companies Ordinance of Hong Kong. If you want to establish a company in Hong Kong as local or foreigner, then it is highly advisable to hire a professional firm to help you through the legal procedure. As these firms have a lot of professional experience and well aware of local law of Hong Kong so these can help through any legal procedure and take mandatory actions where required.
  • The Primary Requirements 
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  • Company Name: In order to avoid the copyrights and other issues, the name of company should be approved by authorities before incorporating it with your Hong Kong company.
  • Board of Directors: It is mandatory for a company to have at least one director. But there can be more than one director of company and there is no upper limit on maximum number of directors. For a company, director can be local or foreigner as it is not necessary for him/her to be a resident of Hong Kong. Director should be at least 18 years or above in age. Like the owner of company director also should not have been declared as bank defaulter and should have no criminal record. It is not mandatory for a director to be a shareholder of company. Meetings of board of directors is not mandatory to be held in Hong Kong only, as it can be done from anywhere remotely or locally.
  • Shareholders: In contrast with no limit on number of directors in company there can have at least 1 or maximum 50 shareholders of a company in Hong Kong. Like directors, it is also not mandatory for a shareholder to be a resident of Hong Kong, but a shareholder must be 18 years or above of age. There are no restrictions on a person to be director and shareholder at a time. A shareholder can be an individual or in the form of company. You can also find diversity in this fact that shareholders of a company in Hong Kong can’t be 100% local or 100% foreigner. Meetings of shareholders is not mandatory to be held in Hong Kong only, as it can be done from anywhere remotely or locally.
  • The Secretary of Company: It is mandatory for a company to appoint a secretary. A secretary can be an individual or in the form of body corporate. Here is one restriction, that in case of an individual as a secretary he/she should be resident of Hong Kong not foreigner. In case of a corporate body as a secretary, it must have its business sites in Hong Kong. A person can’t be director and secretary at same time as both have different responsibilities. The basic difference in duties of director and secretary also include that all decisions to run the company are taken by director or directors while duties of secretary of company are to record the financial transactions and to ensure that company meet all the targeted requirements.
  • Sharing of capital: As described earlier there is no restriction on number of shareholders for a company in Hong Kong. But normally, companies present in Hong Kong should have minimum 1 share holder while 1 share is usually allocated for formation of company. As shareholders of company can be locals and foreigners both so there is no restriction on type of currency for share of capital as it can be any major currency. Shares are transferred to each shareholder freely and are subjected to some stamp duty in the form of tax by the government of Hong Kong.
  • Registered business Premises: There should be a physical address not post office address as the registered business premise of your company, in Hong Kong. This address should be provided to authorities for registering the companies in Hong Kong.
  • Public Information: According to law of Hong Kong, the contact information of company officers like directors, shareholders and secretary is regarded as public information. So it is mandatory to provide the office of Hong Kong Registrar of companies with that public information. Sometime it is mandatory to keep in possession the confidentiality of the company officers, so to do that you can assign a shareholder of company and nominate one director. This could be done easily by hiring the services of professional firms.
  • Taxation: As far as tax rate is concerned, corporate tax is set at 16.5 percent of taxable company profit. Income of company is subjected for inspection and only profit from the income that is realized in Hong Kong is considered as chargeable. You would be glad to know that there are no taxes applicable on capital gains, no withholding tax on some of money that is paid regularly to shareholders of a company from its profit and no general sales tax (GST) or value added tax (VAT), in this region.
  • Ongoing compliance: It is mandatory for a company to create and monitor the accounts. It is duty of certified public accounts in Hong Kong to audit these accounts yearly. Inland Revenue department is responsible to keep the record of tax payers so, audited accounts along with tax returns should be filed every year with that department. Then it is responsibility of company to file yearly return with companies’ registry and to cater for yearly registration fee. There are two ways that can be adopted to renew the business registration certificate, one is to renew it one month before it gets expire on yearly basis while second is to renew it every three years depending upon your requirements. It is also mandatory to have an annual general meeting (AGM) every year. As long as company gets incorporated, annual general meeting should take place within 18 months of its incorporation date. After that there should be a gap of no more than 15 months between one meeting and next. It is allowable to have a written resolution instead of annual general meeting (AGM).

After fulfilling all legal requirements along with application for registration of company it takes around 5-7 working days for a company to get incorporated in Hong Kong.

Given below is the procedural information that should be considered by the Foreigners, who want to register an overseas limited liability company in Hong Kong.

  • There is no restriction for you as a foreigner to be the sole director of your company in Hong Kong. Along with sole director you can also be the shareholder of company at same time.
  • For some matters of company your presence is mandatory while sometimes it may not. Like, if company is being registered no physical presence is required while your presence is required for the purpose of creating a bank account. The choice of bank to create account is yours.
  •  Foreigners who are not willful to move to Hong Kong due to personal issues or other circumstances can run their companies freely from overseas.

Given below is the description of documents that are necessary to register your company in Hong Kong.

  • A copy of the articles of association for your company that should thoroughly explain the constitution of company, responsibilities of director, business to be adopted and the ways of control of shareholders over board of directors.
  • Following content should be the part of a well-completed incorporation form:                                                                            company name, registered sites of company, brief description of the operational activities, details of directors, shareholders and company secretary, answerability of the members, details of amount of share taken by subscribers and share capital.
  • In order to avoid any legal inconvenience, a copy of the passport and overseas home address for foreign directors and shareholders is needed as a proof.
  • In order to prove the residence of directors and shareholders in Hong Kong, a copy of address of residence and a copy of Hong Kong ID are required as evidence.
  • A copy of registration document of parent company called certification of incorporation is required for corporate directors and shareholders.

Investment plan Formulation

In order to apply for entrepreneur visa in Hong Kong it is mandatory for you to provide a two years’ business plan. Visa approval strongly depends upon the business plan that is well formulated. The only application for entrepreneur is accepted that is based on strong argument that, his/her business will strengthen the economy of Hong Kong.

Entrepreneurs’ application is assessed thoroughly by authorities. Given below are some factors to be considered while applying for entrepreneur visa.

  • Business plan: business plan of an entrepreneur should indicate business idea, plan to run the business, products/favors, analysis of market to justify your services, to develop and strengthen the economy of Hong Kong and team to run the business.
  • Investment proposal: authorities are responsible to inspect your capital investment and funding needed to establish and run the business. It is recommended to border the information of your financial state like application form for loan and bank statements etc. to be on safe side. First 3-6 moths are usually crucial for the startups so you have to make sure the availability of funding for this period of time to cater operational activities.
  • Vehicle for business: there are some factors other than business and investment proposal like business vehicle etc. that have also impact on your entrepreneur visa application. Generally, a partnership company or a privately traded business does not worth as much as a limited liability company in Hong Kong.
  • Business offices: again this is duty of authorities to verify that whether business premises proposed by entrepreneur are suitable for nature of his/her operations. For example, for an import/export company a business location with sufficient storage facilities is required. So, it is recommended to provide the authorities with snap shots of your office space and structure of occupation.

These above mentioned points worth a lot while filling your application as these can turn your application into an approved business plan by authorities. While, business plan that is weakly supported with these requirements is most likely to be rejected.

Entrepreneur visa application procedure

Sponsorship is necessary in order to start a new business in Hong Kong. So, you have to get a sponsor from Hong Kong to sponsor your business. This sponsor can be an individual or a company. In case of your unavailability your sponsor is responsible for your business matters.

Given below is the list of documents that are required while applying for entrepreneur visa.

Application documents

  • A complete entrepreneur visa application form.
  • A copy to approve your residence in country other than Hong Kong.
  • You should have a copy of passport with Latest stamp of your stay in Hong Kong and a copy of passports’ personal data page in hand.
  • A copy of certificate issued by BIR, called business registration certificates and other registration detail of your company.
  • A copy of your identity card issued by authorities in Hong Kong (if applicable).
  • A thorough and full fledge business plan for period of 2 years. Business plan should provide the information like, proposed amount for investment, proposed operations of business, establishing business states and creation of jobs for people of Hong Kong.
  • A copy to provide the verification of good academic background and work experience.
  • A copy of experience letter or employment contract of company to show details of your position in the company, your salary, period of employment and other benefits from company (where applicable).

Sponsor documents

Following documents are required for a company sponsor:

  • A complete application form for sponsorship.
  • One copy of business registration certificate from board inland revenue for company.

Following documents are required for an individual sponsor:

  • A complete application form for sponsorship.
  • One copy of identity card of sponsor.
  • One copy of passport page of sponsor containing his/her personal data.

One key point to note here is that no document should be written in language other than English and Chinese. Above mentioned documents are mandatory but more documents could be requested by Immigration authorities from visa applicant or sponsor whenever required.

After filling the application form, applicant have to post it to the Hong Kong immigration department along with relevant documents. It may take roughly 3-5 months to process the application. An entry permit label/visa is issued by immigration department after approval of application. You have to attach this visa on the blank page of your passport and present it to the immigration officer after your arrival in Hong Kong. There is option to appeal with the pertinent authorities if your permit application is not approved.

There would be no problem in acceptance of your visa application if authorities are contended with your loyalty to Hong Kong economy and your company given that you have enough funding to support your business goals and you meet all eligibility criteria.

Whether hiring of a professional company to handle your entrepreneur visa makes difference?

As professionals of any field provide great assistance to help you out of plight with their experienced advice. So yes, it is preferable to hire the services of a professional firm.

It is also advisable to hire a professional firm because:

  • Professional companies deal with number of such cases so these are well familiar with application procedure.
  • Professional companies can help you to create a solid business plan, as stated earlier the dependency of visa acceptance is upon your business plan.
  • Professional firms can also provide assistance as your local sponsors.
  • Professional firms can prepare business plan, guide you through application procedure and save your time and energy by submitting your application and dealing with authorities on your behalf.      

Results

It is allowed for successful applicants of entrepreneur visa to bring their dependent unmarried kids under 18 years and spouses with them to Hong Kong. But a dependent visa application is required for each member of family. As family members are allowed to stay with visa applicant so their length of stay is tied with length of stay of applicant. There is a nice option available for dependent visa holders to get education or find jobs in this region.            

Right of Abode’ is term used for entrepreneur visa applicant who had been issued the visa and have lived in Hong kong for a period of minimum 7 years.

You are not banned to move to and live in Hong Kong on your employment status if you have been given with a work permit visa. If there are 4 weeks remaining in expiry of your entrepreneur visa you can file a renewal application to extend your stay in Hong Kong. But you are only eligible to get your visa renewed if your company is relevant and you still meet the eligibility criteria. In case if your application for visa renewal is accepted your extension of stay will usually have sequence of 2-2-3 years.    

If an applicant gets an entrepreneur visa of Hong Kong, he can enjoy same benefits as local population of Hong Kong. Application procedure is not much complicated rather very straightforward and smooth. You have option to hire any professional firm to handle the procedure of application for you. As business of professional firms is to assist the entrepreneurs with their visa applications so these are usually experienced in dealing with such visa applications.

We will conclude with argument that; Hong Kong can be a great choice for you to start your business. If you have strong business plan and you meet the eligibility criteria than to get approval for business plan is not a big deal. It is necessary to have enough funding at initial stages of business setup because having this will help you to go a long way by guaranteeing you a placement in the Hong Kong.

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