I am on a sponsored visa by my employer, and I have gained their permission to do sideline work as a graphic designer (I have a degree in this).
My original intent has been to set up a sole proprietor business with the Inland Revenue Department, and then seek approval from Immigration. My understanding was that this would be a relatively simple process, seeing as this was all meant to be "side" work. But apparently I am wrong in that assumption, and Immigration is choosing to view my sideline request as an investment company that will require many more documents, such as Application for Entry for Investment as Entrepreneurin Hong Kong, bank statements, potential clients, and a 2-year business plan. This has become a much bigger ordeal than I expected.
I spoke with a business development agency in HK, and they told me that there was a possibility that having a sole proprietor business in my name might give me problems when it comes time to renew my visa with my sponsoring employer. This alarms me and makes me wary of continuing with the sole proprietor route.
I am now considering to pursue another route entirely - setting up an LLC with a local HK friend of mine. We would plan to use an agency to help us, since we are both not trained in business preparation - he is a computer programmer and I do graphic design. I've been told that an LLC is viewed differently by the government and they may not have an issue with me participating in this as a sideline business.
Does anyone out there have experience in a similar situation recently? I was informed that Immigration's policies have changed in the last year or less, so I am unsure which info online is actually accurate anymore.
Thank you very much for any advice you can give!