24 Apr Hong Kong Residency by Investment Program – 2023 Guide
The original residency by investment ‘Golden Visa’ program in Hong Kong was suspended in 2015 when this unique part of China decided to focus on attracting talent instead of investors. However, in 2023, a new investor program was announced to help the region recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This article outlines the new investment program, looking at the following areas:
- Hong Kong residency by investment program: an overview
- Benefits of Hong Kong residency by investment
- Eligibility criteria for Hong Kong residency by investment program
- Investment options for Hong Kong residency by investment program
- Application process to acquire Hong Kong residency by investment
Hong Kong residency by investment program: an overview
The new investment program was announced in February 2023, and the final details are yet to be announced. However, the program is expected to be one of the more expensive options, and the government has stated that it is only seeking high-net-worth investors. Initial ballpark estimates suggest an investment lower threshold around the HKD 14 million mark (EUR 1.6 million/USD 1.78 million).
The application will usually be dealt with within four weeks, and the residency visa is for two years. The visa can be renewed as long as the applicant continues to fulfil the required investment and residency criteria.
Benefits of Hong Kong residency by investment
Hong Kong has long been famous for its dynamic economy, business-friendly environment, and high standard of living, making it an attractive destination for investors and entrepreneurs. Obtaining Hong Kong residency through investment provides several benefits, including:
- Access to a robust economy: Hong Kong is one of the world’s leading financial hubs, with a strong and stable economy. As a resident, you can take advantage of the business opportunities available in Hong Kong and tap into its vast market potential.
- Ease of doing business: Hong Kong has a simple and transparent tax system, low tax rates, and minimal government intervention, making it a favourable environment for doing business. Hong Kong also ranks highly in global indices for ease of doing business, making it an attractive destination for investment.
- Quality of Life: Hong Kong offers a high standard of living with excellent healthcare, education, and transportation systems. The city has a diverse culture, vibrant lifestyle, and world-class amenities, making it a highly desirable place to live and work.
- Political and legal stability: Hong Kong has a well-established legal system based on the rule of law, which provides a stable and predictable business environment. The city has a reputation for being politically stable and offers residents a safe and secure living environment.
- Education opportunities: Hong Kong has a reputable education system with top-ranked universities, international schools, and a wide range of educational opportunities for families with children. This makes it an attractive destination for families looking to provide quality education for their children.
- Access to a multicultural environment: Hong Kong is a melting pot of cultures, with a diverse international community. Living in Hong Kong provides exposure to different cultures, ideas, and perspectives, making life here a unique and enriching experience.
Eligibility criteria for Hong Kong residency by investment program
The Hong Kong Residency by Investment program is open to foreign nationals, except for nationals of Afghanistan, Cuba, Laos, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Nepal and Vietnam and Chinese residents of Mainland China.
The application must fulfil the following criteria:
- You must have the relevant educational background or skills and experience to run your proposed business, and these qualifications must be supported by evidence.
- Your business plan should create local jobs or introduce new technologies and skills to your area of operation.
- The business plan you submit must contain a detailed market analysis, sales targets, marketing strategy, and other relevant details about your proposed business.
- If your project is a new business, you will need to supply a two-year prediction of profits and loss; for existing businesses, you will need to detail the business profits and turnover for the previous tax year.
- You must supply proof of your financial standing, demonstrating your ability to fund the project and maintain yourself in Hong Kong, including proof of investment resources, investment sum, and number of new jobs created by the business.
- You must have no criminal record, and there must be no security issues or objections surrounding your character or activities.
Investment options for Hong Kong residency by investment program
Applicants for Hong Kong residency by investment must fund a new business in Hong Kong or invest in an existing one.
If your proposed business venture is a start-up, it must be in an area supported by a government-approved program. These programs are supported by institutions including the Hong Kong Science and Technologies Park Corporation, the Hong Kong Design Centre and the Innovation and Technology Commission.
Application process to acquire Hong Kong residency by investment.
The application process for residency by investment in Hong Kong is straightforward, but it is recommended that you employ an agent such as Huriya Private to help with the required paperwork and assist with resolving any queries or complications encountered during the application.
These are the four basic steps required when applying:
Step 1: Complete the application forms. There will be separate forms for the applicant and the sponsor. The forms can usually be obtained from your local Immigration Department Headquarters – ask your agent to assist with gathering the forms.
Step 2: Choose a local sponsor. This can be a company or an individual. If the latter, the sponsor must be over 18, a Hong Kong resident, and acquainted with the applicant.
Step 3: Gather the required supporting documents. These include a copy of your passport, a recent photograph, proof of your current address and financial status, and an investment plan. The sponsor will be asked to submit documents too. Ask your agent for assistance in gathering all the material required.
Step 4: Submit your application for the visa to the Immigration Department. A decision will usually be made regarding your application within four weeks, as long as you have submitted all the required information.
The application costs are low, starting at HKD 230 (approximately EUR 27/USD 30).
Note: The Hong Kong authorities reserve the right to conduct in-person checks and field visits to confirm the authenticity of the information you have provided.
The residency visa is valid for two years and can be renewed. It is issued as an e-visa, which can be downloaded or re-downloaded via mobile applications or online. You may be eligible to apply for Chinese citizenship after seven years as a Hong Kong resident.
Documents required for a Hong Kong residency by investment visa
The documents required for Hong Kong residency by investment may vary depending on the type of business investment you are making and your personal circumstances. However, the following documents will always be required:
- Completed application form: You will need to complete the relevant application form for the specific investment you are planning. This may include personal information, details of your investment, and other relevant information.
- Proof of investment: You will need to provide evidence of your investment in Hong Kong. This may include documents such as investment contracts, share certificates, bank statements, and other relevant financial documents.
- Proof of business or investment experience: Depending on the investment you are making, you may be required to provide evidence of your business or investment experience. This may include CVs, business plans, financial statements, and other relevant documents demonstrating your business or investment background.
- Passport and personal identification: You will need to provide a valid passport and personal identification documents, such as an identity card or driver’s license.
- Proof of good character: You may be required to provide documents that prove your good character, such as police clearance certificates or similar documents from your country of residence or any other country where you have lived for a significant period.
- Proof of financial standing: You may be required to provide evidence of your finances, such as bank statements, tax returns, or other financial documents demonstrating your ability to support yourself and your dependents in Hong Kong.
Depending on your personal circumstances and the specific requirements of the investment program, you may be asked to provide additional documents such as marriage certificates, birth certificates, education certificates, or other relevant documents.
The new Hong Kong residency by investment program is open to high-net-worth entrepreneurs who can invest at least HKD 14 million into a new or existing Hong Kong business. The final details of the program are yet to be announced, but investors can expect to benefit from a two-year renewable visa that allows residency in one of the most developed cities on the planet.