Our customer was a French national with a wife and 5 year-old daughter – all of them, French citizens.
He had initially arrived in Hong Kong in 2004 as a college student to do an MBA programme on the College of Hong Kong.
On graduating in 2006, he became a member of a Western investment financial institution where he worked continuously till 2010 when he was made redundant as part of the financial difficulties associated with the GFC.
At that time he directed us, he experienced an work visa sponsored by his ex-employing investment financial institution with a 2 calendar year duration of stay supported inside his passport, getting him up just short of the entire 7 calendar year period of time for that purpose of a software for the Right of Abode.
In 2010, with the likelihood of him gaining further employment within the investment banking game unlikely within the near term, our client made a decision to begin a French wine importing business – but failed to apply for an adjustment in his Hong Kong Visa Consultant to permit him so that you can do that. He really needed a smart investment visa but had never bothered to have one.
Because the time of stay availed through the investment bank expired 6 weeks before he would have been continuously resident for the 7 years needed for a Right of Abode application, he decided which he would take him family from Hong Kong at the time his employment visa expired and provide all of them in as visitors, gaining a 90 day duration of stay when they entered, waited six weeks, then submitted an application for the best of Abode.
This is in 2011, 2 weeks before he requested our help.
At the time of his application, he didn’t realise that you can’t apply for the Right of Abode in case you have a visitor visa. You have to be ‘resident’ during the time you apply. Instead he and his family were ‘visiting’. The Hong Kong Immigration Department knocked back his application for permanent residency on this ground and so he found his method to us.
The key issues in this particular application were:
1 – the simple fact of his visitor visa status at the time he applied for the ideal of Abode.
2 – the 11 months he was working his French wine import business, unapproved by the Hong Kong Immigration authorities.
3 – being a prior student from HKU he could take advantage as being a ‘returning graduate’ and stay afforded ‘positive consideration’ for any application he might make in order to occupy a brand new job in Hong Kong (that he’d need an offer of employment coming from a suitably qualified sponsor).
Coincidentally, just after our client approached us for advice, an ex-colleague of his from the investment bank where he had worked for four years previously, asked him ahead and consult with an energy project within the Philippines.
This ex-colleague had, 3 years prior, provided consulting services through their own, newly established one-man company along with turned over HKD10 million in consulting fees within the first 18 months. However, the project had come to a short-term halt, as these things often do, as certain government approvals processes played themselves out.
The project has been doing a temporary hiatus but had, just recently, been reactivated considering the Philippines government providing whatever consents had been essential for it to advance to another phase.
Consequently, and somewhat from the blue, our client received a proposal of employment from his ex-colleague for him to help him over the following phase in the energy project.
This is good news in the one hand, but in the other, the employing business was still very much a ‘brass plaque’ consulting concern that have been effectively dormant for the past eighteen months.
On the plus side, it experienced a strong balance sheet and also enjoyed a receipt through the Hong Kong Inland Revenue for longer than HKD1 million it had paid in profits tax the year before. It also enjoyed a formal notification from the sole client that this energy project was now recommencing and so was manifestly prepared to re-participate in providing services again.
We advised our client that this could be a heaven sent opportunity for us to secure an employment visa for him (with dependent visas for his wife and daughter) counting on the relaxed application consideration criteria that the Immigration Consultant manage to non local graduates of Hong Kong Universities.
We did, on the other hand, counsel that as the sponsoring employer was virtually still a shell of your operation, there will be some tussling with all the Immigration Department to persuade them of the bona fides as being a quality employment visa sponsor.
As expected, we locked horns using the Department about the standard of the sponsor along with several exchanges together each time providing these with more details, proof of the great prospects for that business and the critical role our client was going to be playing in its operations.
Finally, we suggested for the HKID that they approve our client’s employment visa subjected to Business Review at the end of one year, a not unusual proposition, but suitable inside the circumstances. The Hong Kong Immigration Department agreed and our client and his awesome family’s applications were duly approved susceptible to this problem.
As the strategy all along was to supply our client using a residence visa for your purposes of his Right of Abode application, the simple fact of this Business Review was ultimately unimportant because it would only come into yqjfbx if our client applied for an extension to his new employment visa one year down the road.
In fact, 2 months after that, their Right of Abode applications were approved and so Business Review was never a problem. The truly great news is the fact this client is currently providing consulting services towards the energy project AND running his French wine importing business quite lawfully being a permanent resident.