Our customer was a French national with a wife and 5 years old daughter – all of them, French citizens.
He had first arrived in Hong Kong in 2004 as a college student to undertake an MBA programme on the College of Hong Kong.
Upon graduating in 2006, he became a member of a Western investment financial institution where he worked constantly till 2010 when he was developed unnecessary within the banking difficulties linked to the GFC.
At the time he instructed us, he had an employment visa sponsored by his ex-employing purchase bank having a 2 calendar year duration of remain supported inside his passport, getting him up just short of the complete 7 year time period for that purpose of an application for the ideal of Abode.
During 2010, with the likelihood of him gaining further employment in the investment banking game unlikely within the near term, our client chose to start a French wine importing business – but failed to apply for an adjustment in his Visa Agent to allow him to be able to accomplish this. He really needed a good investment visa but had never bothered to have one.
Since the period of stay availed from the investment bank expired 6 weeks before he would have been continuously resident for that 7 years needed for a Right of Abode application, he decided which he would take him family out of Hong Kong at the time his employment visa expired and bring all of them back in as visitors, gaining a 90 day time of stay when they entered, waited about 6 weeks, then submitted an application for the Right of Abode.
It was in 2011, 2 weeks before he asked for our help.
During the time of his application, he didn’t realise that you can’t apply for the best of Abode for those who have a visitor visa. You have to be ‘resident’ at that time you are applying. Instead he along with his family were ‘visiting’. The Hong Kong Immigration Department knocked back his application for permanent residency on this ground and thus he found his method to us.
The key issues in this application were:
1 – the actual fact of his visitor visa status at that time he applied for the Right of Abode.
2 – the 11 months he was working his French wine import business, unapproved from the Hong Kong Immigration authorities.
3 – being a prior student from HKU he could take advantage as being a ‘returning graduate’ and be afforded ‘positive consideration’ for any application he might make so that you can occupy a new job in Hong Kong (in which he’d need a proposal of employment coming from a suitably qualified sponsor).
Coincidentally, just after our client approached us for advice, an ex-colleague of his from your investment bank where he had worked for four years previously, asked him in the future and consult upon an energy project inside the Philippines.
This ex-colleague had, three 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 in a temporary hiatus but had, recently, been reactivated considering the Philippines government providing whatever consents had been necessary for it to progress to another phase.
Consequently, and somewhat out of the blue, our client received an offer of employment from his ex-colleague for him to assist him within the next phase of the energy project.
This is fantastic news around the one hand, but around the other, the employing business was still significantly a ‘brass plaque’ consulting concern that have been effectively dormant for the past 18 months.
In the plus side, it experienced a strong balance sheet as well as had a receipt from the Hong Kong Inland Revenue for longer than HKD1 million it had paid in profits tax the entire year before. Additionally, it experienced a formal notification from the sole client the energy project was now recommencing and so was manifestly ready to re-participate in providing services once more.
We advised our client that this could be a heaven sent chance for us to secure an employment visa for him (with dependent visas for his wife and daughter) counting on the relaxed application consideration criteria which the Visa Agent manage to non local graduates of Hong Kong Universities.
We did, on the other hand, counsel that since the sponsoring employer was virtually still a shell of an operation, there will be some tussling with the Immigration Department to persuade them of their bona fides as a quality employment visa sponsor.
As expected, we locked horns with the Department about the caliber of the sponsor and had several exchanges with them each and every time providing these with more details, evidence of the best prospects for that business as well as the critical role our client was going to be playing in its operations.
Finally, we suggested for the HKID they approve our client’s employment visa subject to Business Review at the conclusion of twelve months, a not unusual proposition, but suitable within the circumstances. The Hong Kong Immigration Department agreed and our client along with his family’s applications were duly approved subject to this disorder.
Because the strategy all along have been to offer our client with a residence visa for your purpose of his Right of Abode application, the simple fact of this Business Review was ultimately unimportant as it would only enter into yqjfbx if our client requested an extension to his new employment visa 12 months in the future.
Actually, two months after this, their Right of Abode applications were approved and so Business Review was never a concern. The truly great news is the fact this client is currently providing consulting services for the energy project AND running his French wine importing business quite lawfully as a permanent resident.