In HK on Working Visa, can I be a company director

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2008
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    325

    In HK on Working Visa, can I be a company director

    I've searched around for a definitive answer for this, and just been to Wan Chai in person to no avail, the immigration officer didn't seem to know what a 'Company Director' was.

    I am in HK on a work visa working full time.
    My friends and I want to start a little tech business with a small upfront investment (around 80K each).
    I will not be working for this company, or drawing a salary.
    Can I be listed as a Director or not, given that I am on an employment visa?

    If I wasn't resident in HK, then I am assured that I could be a director (Companies Registry - Frequently Asked Questions). But I can't get a clear answer on if I can be on whilst resident in HK on an employment visa.

    In Wan Chai the immigration officer just threw an investment visa application form at me and told me to go away. But the investment is certainly not big enough to pass investment visa criteria, nor would I be employed by the new company.
    The helpline has been telling me "sorry all lines are busy" for 4 days now

    Worst case scenario I can be an investor/shareholder in the new company, I am sure.

    Anyone have a yes/no answer or been in a similar situation?


  2. #2

    Join Date
    May 2008
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    325

    Scratch this: they finally answered the phone.

    According to WH Chung, it's fine to start a business on my working visa, as long as I don't work for it.

    Which was my suspicion all along.


  3. #3

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Hong Kong
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    I've asked this question before and I got a positive from Immigration. Suggest you drop them an email.


  4. #4

    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    45

    Company director does count as employment -- see this information for the UK, but it is basically the same here.

    The majority of non-executive directors are also regarded as employed by the company or self-employed under a contract for services, depending on the terms and conditions of their appointment.
    Now, in your case you say you are not going to do any work for the company and you will not draw a salary from the company. But I suppose you'll still be showing up at board meetings and casting votes, right? That's still work.

    Safest is to just be a shareholder, unless you want the hassle of asking Immigration's permission to approve your sideline activities as a director.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Gulf Region, ex Mid-Levels
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    Quote Originally Posted by yc9:
    But I suppose you'll still be showing up at board meetings and casting votes, right? That's still work.
    For Vistor's visas they allow for people to attend meetings and seminars. So I would not be so worried. If you want to protect your investment by having voting rights, I would sit as a director but just be aware of the responsibilities that are entailed if you do.