If sales staff come to Hong Kong frequently, it can make more sense to get them a full licence rather than separate temporary licences each time they visit. Repeated applications for temporary licences can involve considerable time and effort for compliance staff.
Pros of full licence:
- Once only;
- No time limit on validity;
- Available for all types of regulated activities; and
- Easier to follow up with potential investors in Hong Kong after initial visit.
Cons of full licence:
- Longer SFC processing time (although if you apply for a provisional licence at the same time, there's no real difference);
- Need to sit the local regulatory framework paper;
- Ongoing obligations of CPT and the need to complete an annual return; and
- The individual would need a title with the licensed corporation (default title being “licensed representative”) so that he/she can be properly included in the organisational chart.
A further alternative is for the overseas individual to be licensed as an itinerant professional. We discussed the differences between the temporary and itinerant licence in our October 2012 newsletter.