We have recently had a couple of interesting Hong Kong investment visa “wins” that go against the commonly used mantra that “one man companies are never approved” by the Hong Kong Immigration Department (the “HKID “).
It cannot be said that the following below applies in all cases of a Hong Kong one-man investment visa application, but it does speak to the reality that such companies CAN receive HKID approval, if only You have :
- A compelling reason to start as a single operator.
- Easily available funds to invest at a level somewhat higher than the 6-month minimum cash flow.
- A dynamic in your business plan that is compelling or offers attractive or scarce ‘human capital’ to the HKSAR.
- A manifestly obvious intention to create local jobs eventually, if not immediately.
- Otherwise, your ducks are completely lined up!
With the facts slightly adjusted to protect our clients’ confidentiality, here are the essential circumstances of 2 separate, ‘one-man deals’ that went on to secure HKID approval under our advice and with us managing the applications.
The first involved an interior design services professional who had a previous residency in Hong Kong as an employee for a few years, but was completely changing careers by joining his new business. His business was “he”, for all intents and purposes, but he had some “family intellectual property” that he was bringing to the business, which his father had applied for in a similar family business in the UK for over 30 years. Although his father had retired a few years earlier, he was appointed to the board of directors of our client’s sole proprietorship limited company and was evidently going to help his son with advice and counsel. Add funds worth 12 months ready to invest, the support of certain Hong Kong contacts who indicated they would bring business to this, initially a one-man operation and a plan that clearly demonstrated that if the growth trajectory was achieved, new jobs would be created. As sure as night follows day, HKID accepted the argument and approved the request without any more fuss than to expect when there are larger-scale investment plans for Hong Kong.
The second instance took on a mental health expert in a profession that does not require formal HKSAR registration and who was looking to establish a new practice, having grown tired of working a current job in Hong Kong that was not in one. closely related to their actual qualifications. It turned out that the business reason for starting the business was always going to be nebulous – she was the product, after all, and she only had a finite amount of time she could sell. Certainly, at least one local job had to be created 4 months after the business plan and the cash available for investment was literally enough for the setup and 6-month cash flow. However, their area of expertise was so compelling and so scarce in HKSAR, our advice was that the ‘substantial contribution’ element of the investment visa approval test should be discussed in the context of the assistance provided to Hong stressed. Kong, bankers and lawyers, and that his practice was never going to be a great source of income that would throw up new jobs from left to right and center. It worked and his visa was approved in twice the time.