How Easy (or Hard) Is It to Swap From a Hong Kong Employment Visa to an Investment Visa

Hong Kong ranks as one of the most business-friendly city in the world.  There was no less than 120,000 Individual Private Limited Companies registered in 2019. One of the key contributing factors is its transparent and straight-forward immigration policy for Visa Applications. It designed to accommodate investor, business entrepreneurs and working professionals alike from foreign countries. From January to June this year, despite from the Covid-19, there were total of 7,717 applications in the first half of 2020.


Who Need a Visa?

Any person without the Right of Abode requires a visa to work in Hong Kong. Foreigners can enter Hong Kong as a visitor. However, they are not permitted to work until they have obtained a proper visa. Many foreign expats come into Hong Kong with a local job offer. The Hong Kong company act as the sponsor of the working visa. 


Reason for changing Employment Visa to Investment Visa?

it’s very common that foreign employees after working in Hong Kong for a few years, they notice many business opportunities and wanting their freedom to work for themselves.  This is when they need to change their visa from Employment to Investment Visa.

Before they apply for the change of visa, they need to first setup a Hong Kong Limited company through Company Registry and Inland Revenue Department of Hong Kong.


Any policy can facilitate for changing Employment Visa to Investment Visa?

Hong Kong Immigration Department has set up a special entry arrangement for foreigners. For those wish to stay in Hong Kong under General Employment Policy (GEP).  GEP has a programme called Investment as Entrepreneurs, then the foreigners can startup their own business with a Hong Kong Limited company here. As long as the visa is approved then live and work in Hong Kong accordingly.


Who is not Eligible to apply for the General Employment Policies (GEP)?

  • Chinese residents of the Mainland of China (the Mainland); and
  • Nationals of Afghanistan, Cuba, Laos, Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of), Nepal and Vietnam.

So, Who’s Eligible?

  • The applicants must have no security objection and unknown record of serious crime.
  • The eligible applicants should have good educational qualifications. Also have possess special skills, knowledge or experience of value to and not readily available in Hong Kong.
  • The applicant is in a position to make substantial contribution to the economy of Hong Kong. The consideration factors including, but not limited to, business plan, business turnover, financial resources, investment sum, number of jobs created locally and introduction of new technology or skills.
  • The applicant is the proprietor or partner of the start-up company or a key researcher of the government supported relevant project.
  • The applicant has joined the business in Hong Kong, the sponsoring organisation for the visa has to be a sustainable business. For example with solid proofs of office tenancy agreements, investment funds in the Hong Kong company bank account, contracts and letter of intent for local hiring.


Processing Time

It normally takes four weeks to process a visa/entry permit application for investment upon receipt of all the required documents.  However, if you are changing your employment visa to investment visa, as immigration has records of your background already, it can be less than 4 weeks.


For further information, please contact us.