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Visitor visa to Work visa transfer

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    16

    Visitor visa to Work visa transfer

    Greetings,

    Firstly, my apologies if this topic is already covered elsewhere. I have searched the forums and cannot seem to find this specific scenario I am faced with.

    Here goes: The company i work for in the UK are opening a new office in HK. They are sending me and 2 colleagues out there to set it up and commence work very soon. The work visas (And dependent visa for my wife) will be applied for within the next few days. My understanding is that these visas typically take around 4-6 weeks to process and be approved although if anyone can tell me any different on this timeframe please shout up. My questions are as follows:-

    - Can we go enter HK on Visitor visas whilst our Work visas are being processed and commence work? (I assume not, but how would anyone actually know?)

    - If we are in HK on a Visitor visa (Either working or not working) when the Work visas are approved how do we go about activating them? (Do we need to do the Macau thing?)

    - If the Macau thing does need to be done, firstly, is this the easiest way? secondly do you literally just go in and out or is it safer to spend a few hours there before hopping back HK side? Anyone actually done this?

    All comments very much appreciated and welcome.

    My money is on PDLM offering the quickest and best answer

    Thanks


  2. #2

    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Hong Kong, from UK
    Posts
    3,838
    Quote Originally Posted by roystong:
    Greetings,

    Firstly, my apologies if this topic is already covered elsewhere. I have searched the forums and cannot seem to find this specific scenario I am faced with.

    Here goes: The company i work for in the UK are opening a new office in HK. They are sending me and 2 colleagues out there to set it up and commence work very soon. The work visas (And dependent visa for my wife) will be applied for within the next few days. My understanding is that these visas typically take around 4-6 weeks to process and be approved although if anyone can tell me any different on this timeframe please shout up. My questions are as follows:-
    If you're setting up a new office, meaning that your company isn't known to the Immigration Department, you might find that the visas aren't as quick or easy as you think. Are you planning to employ any locals in the new office, or just the 3 expats?
    - Can we go enter HK on Visitor visas whilst our Work visas are being processed and commence work? (I assume not, but how would anyone actually know?)
    In practice, you probably can - but it is illegal, and as above, it's possible you will come under some extra scrutiny. I wouldn't take the risk unless it was really urgent...

    - If we are in HK on a Visitor visa (Either working or not working) when the Work visas are approved how do we go about activating them? (Do we need to do the Macau thing?)
    You do the Macau thing - or the China thing, if you've got a China visa and/or want to do some visiting, or the Thailand thing, etc. You pass out through HK Immigration as a visitor, and in again as a resident.

    - If the Macau thing does need to be done, firstly, is this the easiest way? secondly do you literally just go in and out or is it safer to spend a few hours there before hopping back HK side? Anyone actually done this?
    It probably is the quickest and easiest way, but there's no particular need to rush it. Since you obviously won't be working before your visas are live, go in the afternoon, visit a casino or two (don't need to gamble - they're interesting/impressive places to visit anyway), get some dinner, do some sight-seeing, come back and go to work the next day

    All comments very much appreciated and welcome.

    My money is on PDLM offering the quickest and best answer

    Thanks
    Nah, he's probably off hiking today, enjoying his life of leisure...

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    500

    Is your company getting support from Invest HK? (www.investhk.gov.hk) If not highly recommend you talk to them, they help overseas companies with the logistics of setting up in HK including immigration issues. And it's free!

    Football16 likes this.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Hong Kong
    Posts
    23,205
    Quote Originally Posted by roystong:
    My money is on PDLM offering the quickest and best answer
    Sorry to disappoint - I can't really add much to the two answers above. Except to say that Saturday is a day of rest so I've only just got up (not least because of anticipating a bit of a late one with the rugby tonight).

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    16

    Thanks vmliniz, much appreciated.

    No locals being employed, just 3 expats, in answer to your question.

    So if the visas were applied for tomorrow for instance, in your experience how long do you think they will take to process?


  6. #6

    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Hong Kong, from UK
    Posts
    3,838
    Quote Originally Posted by roystong:
    Thanks vmliniz, much appreciated.

    No locals being employed, just 3 expats, in answer to your question.

    So if the visas were applied for tomorrow for instance, in your experience how long do you think they will take to process?
    I don't have any experience of that sort of thing - it's more from comments around here over the past few years, and related experiences with my own visas. On paper, at least, Immigration are quite concerned with what you're going to bring to HK, in the form of things like new businesses, employment, tax revenue, etc.

    The other thing I've heard repeatedly, from people who do have experience, is that if Immigration know you, things are generally a lot smoother than if they don't - and obviously, if you're a new company, they won't know anything about you at all...

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Tuen Mun
    Posts
    6,191
    Quote Originally Posted by roystong:
    Greetings,

    Firstly, my apologies if this topic is already covered elsewhere. I have searched the forums and cannot seem to find this specific scenario I am faced with.

    Here goes: The company i work for in the UK are opening a new office in HK. They are sending me and 2 colleagues out there to set it up and commence work very soon. The work visas (And dependent visa for my wife) will be applied for within the next few days. My understanding is that these visas typically take around 4-6 weeks to process and be approved although if anyone can tell me any different on this timeframe please shout up. My questions are as follows:-

    - Can we go enter HK on Visitor visas whilst our Work visas are being processed and commence work? (I assume not, but how would anyone actually know?)

    - If we are in HK on a Visitor visa (Either working or not working) when the Work visas are approved how do we go about activating them? (Do we need to do the Macau thing?)

    - If the Macau thing does need to be done, firstly, is this the easiest way? secondly do you literally just go in and out or is it safer to spend a few hours there before hopping back HK side? Anyone actually done this?

    All comments very much appreciated and welcome.

    My money is on PDLM offering the quickest and best answer

    Thanks
    Your visas will take about 4 weeks, you don't have to wait in Macau, I didn't even leave the ferry terminal in Macau when I did my visa activation, it's not 'dodgy' the people at immigration will tell you to do it.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Gold Coast Marina
    Posts
    17,934
    Quote Originally Posted by roystong:
    Thanks vmliniz, much appreciated.

    No locals being employed, just 3 expats, in answer to your question.

    So if the visas were applied for tomorrow for instance, in your experience how long do you think they will take to process?
    For a similar situation 3 years ago, it took about 4 months - of constant headache. The Immigration Dept wanted huge amount of extra info mainly on the company (not so much personal info). And we all worked in the interim (I had no idea at the time it was illegal) - but it's fine providing the "work" you are doing is "work" you are allowed to do for an overseas company if you were here on a business trip ... so you can have meetings etc just not reside here. Providing you are still employed by your overseas office, and are basically just here for a "business trip" to set up the office prior to "moving" here after the visa is sorted, it's all fine. Just think about how to make that true.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Gold Coast Marina
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    Quote Originally Posted by helen0507:
    In order for your Company to set up in HK and get your Visas running, they cannot apply for Employment Visa, they will have to apply for INVESTMENT ( to Establish/ Join business). So make sure they use the correct category.
    Or you can PM me for more details
    Rubbish. My company set up a new firm here and all the staff got employment visas. It took a while, but that's what we got. It would only be investment visas if the people moving here owned the company.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    16

    Thanks to MovingIn07 and bryant.english - appreciated!

    Well I hope it takes 4 weeks and not 4 months thats for sure. I suppose the hassle with being on a visitor visa for that long is not so much the work situation but your personal arrangements? Essentially you cant do an awful lot in terms of settling in without a HK ID card. No bank account or mobile phone contract, gym or long term apartment etc... Bit of a pest that eh!


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