Relocate To Work In Hong Kong? Or Work Remotely?

You would encounter a similar scenario to this from time to time: A professional who is originally from and based in one of the western countries such as Canada is to relocate to Hong Kong with his spouse and even children. Most likely the expatriate and his spouse are going to get employment offer and work in Hong Kong. Some foreigners may have the impression that in the first place they are going to work temporarily as freelancers in HK. Eventually they would find better jobs with improved salaries, and that’s the time they are going to settle with a more permanent mindset. But that is not always the correct approach. In such as case, the best option for the expats would be to get assistance from a local Hong Kong visa agent.

In Hong Kong, a foreigner cannot work as interim or freelancer while holding no valid visa from the Immigration Department. Before becoming legal to work in HK, the expat is required to get a sponsor who is the employing company of the expat person. The sponsoring company must issue a job offer to the applicant (i.e. the expatriate from Canada). The next step is for the expat person to apply for the work/employment visa. The spouse should apply for the dependent visa. A dependent visa should be formally applied through the Immigration Department. What often happens is that after the relocation, the spouse may quickly receive a job offer from a different company. This second company will be the sponsor company of the spouse.

Another option is for the expat to apply for an investment visa. But before doing so, he must be eligible for the application in the first place. This would mean he is not being employed by a Hong Kong based company.

Should the entire process of relocation including getting job offers from sponsoring companies and the application of employment visas is too complicated, the foreigner may go for plan B and work remotely. So in practice he does not have to relocate and may even work from home. The requirement is that the nature of the work must be suitable for “remote”. Some examples are:

A tutor who is to teach online (through the internet) in a subject that he has experience and expertise.

A web developer who is to mainly work on his computers/laptops and through the internet when developing his tech projects for his customers.

A logo designer who is to do all the design work on his Macbook computer and is to deliver his finished work through emails or a cloud-based storage such as Dropbox.

Other types of work that include physical presence will not be suitable for such remote work including tour guide person, full time housekeeper, pub waiter/waitress, receptionist, etc.

Justin Author