Finding a Job in Hong Kong

7 min read|Last Updated: September 14, 2021|

Information for Those Searching for a Job in Hong Kong

Before attempting to find a job in Hong Kong, one should be aware of the following matters:


Salary Tax

Hong Kong charges income tax on salaries paid to both foreigners and local workers alike. Therefore, one should know that employees are liable to taxation irrespective of their income. Such taxations equally apply to all income arising from any form of employment profit on business as well as pension. Residents and non-residents alike are liable to taxation on salaries at the same rate.


Profits Tax for the Self-employed

If one’s income is derived from carrying out business or by offering professional and other services, then the person is considered to be a businessperson or self-employed person. Those who are self-employed in Hong Kong are expected to pay profits tax on the profits of their business. Hong Kong’s legal system requires such people to keep sufficient and evident records for at least seven years and notify the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) in writing about any changes in the status of the business.


Tax Obligations for Non-residents Working in Hong Kong

Non-residents working or holding an office in Hong Kong are liable to salaries tax, but not all the income is chargeable. Forms of income such as severance payments and long service payments are not chargeable. Those who are chargeable to tax for any year of assessment notify the IRD in writing not later than four months after the end of the basis period for the year in which they are chargeable unless they have already received a return from the IRD. The Inland Revenue Ordinance (IRO) provides that any person chargeable to tax and intending to leave Hong Kong is to notify the IRD not later than one month before the expected date of departure. Upon receipt of the notification, the IRD will decide whether the person leaving is required to settle all tax liabilities prior to departure.


Working Conditions

The first thing one might notice upon arriving in Hong Kong and working there is its incredibly fast pace. Hong Kong is often called ‘the 24-hour city’. While a legal working week generally consists of 40 to 48 hours, or around 8 hours per day depending on the number of working days, employees often have to stay behind after their established working hours – a common practice in Hong Kong.

Overtime is generally unpaid in Hong Kong, and some employers may ask employees to come into work on Saturdays and Sundays occasionally. However, employees are entitled to at least one day of rest per week. The number of paid local holidays is determined by the employer and mentioned in the employment contract.


Work Permit

A person must first have received a job offer to be able to apply for a work permit or work visa in Hong Kong. One is eligible for a work permit if the person has a clean criminal

record, required qualifications, and previous experience related to the job being sought. The position being sought should be relevant to the applicant’s skills, and those skills should not be available locally.


Social Security

There is no social security scheme in Hong Kong, but in the case of occupational accidents, workers are entitled to professional insurance. In some cases, employment contracts include a clause regarding the provision of medical care to employees. Employees should read the clause before signing the contract. Employees are also free to subscribe to individual insurance.


How to Search for a Job in Hong Kong

Job searching in Hong Kong is much simpler when compared to doing so in mainland China as there are many English job websites and professional recruitment agencies to help job seekers. Many fields are open to foreign expertise. Depending on background and skills, foreigners are most likely to be hired in the fields of finance, IT, marketing, tourism, trade, or teaching. Light industries also have many job opportunities for foreigners; companies in this field are mainly small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

It is not usually difficult for a foreigner to find a job in Hong Kong. However, there are legal procedures to be followed; should a foreigner fail to follow such procedures, it will become very difficult or even impossible for the foreigner to be hired by any Hong Kong employer.

The easiest way to penetrate the job market is through browsing offers on the Internet. As Hong Kong is a developed and modern area, employers are more likely to publish vacancies on several specialized job-hunting websites. Those seeking a job should also consider offers found in classified advertisements in local newspapers as well as on professional social networks. Job seekers may even seek help from foreign Chambers of Commerce that can provide them with a list of local and international companies to which they can send job applications at any time.

Networking is a major part of the job hunting process. Thus, having contacts can be of great help. Local expatriate meetups, business conferences and exhibitions, and foreign association or organization will help foreigners living in Hong Kong expand their social and professional circles.

Before embarking on job hunting in Hong Kong, a prospective employee should ensure that:

  • The resume to be used is up-to-date and references are tailored to suit the job being sought. These matters should reassure the hiring manager that the prospective employee right skills for the role. It is common to be asked to submit a photograph with the resume.
  • Those are not on a dependent visa will need to find an employer to sponsor them so that they will be allowed to work in Hong Kong legally.
  • All of the prospective employee’s official documents including birth certificates, personal identification, and university transcripts can be accessed at any time. Locally-based employers will likely ask for these; thus, original copies are usually required to be provided.


Ways to Ease the Job Search in Hong Kong

Those who are thinking of starting a job search should first decide upon what needs to be done beforehand. Deciding upon a plan in advance and using modern job-search techniques will help in finding jobs more quickly so that one can be hired into the position most desired. There are several ways in which one can make the path to employment in Hong Kong much simpler and more effective.

One important way to do so is by using social media. Even after one’s resume has been updated, the fact that the majority of resumes do not usually exceed two pages means that there will probably be insufficient space to list everything to be mentioned. For this reason, social media is important because it supplies the job seeker with additional space to mention anything omitted from the resume.

The job seeker should also consider their own talents and experience and how it will help in getting a job in Hong Kong. One’s qualifications and talents should lead to a job search in that direction. If the job seeker’s resume reflects the level of expertise, companies will be suitably impressed. Of course, it is necessary that the job seeker only applies for jobs for which the job seeker qualifies.


Advantages of Working in Hong Kong

One of the primary advantages of working in Hong Kong is the immense earning potential which exists there. In September 2015, HSBC reported that experts in Hong Kong had had not only the best career progression but also the highest earning potential. Approximately 30% of them made more than US$200,000 every year; the global average in 13%. Hong Kong is also a very convenient place in which one can live. One of the primary features of Hong Kong is its public transport system. Hong Kong has an exemplary modern and functional transport system. The convenience of being able to get whatever is desired at any time is a major positive. Hong Kong can also boast of being able to provide its residents with an excellent level of quality of life. The weather, culture, nightlife, and proximity to beaches and mountainous regions are just a few reasons why the quality of life in Hong Kong surpasses those of other parts of the world. Even if one does not last long in a job in Hong Kong, it should not be long before the person is once again employed. This is because the unemployment rate in Hong Kong is 2.9%. This is one of the lowest rates in the world.

In conclusion, job searching in Hong Kong is comfortable because of the low rate of unemployment, high quality of life, and friendliness of the locals. However, one must ensure that all legal and skill requirements are fulfilled before working in Hong Kong.

Finding a Job in Hong Kong FAQs

Can people of any Nationality receive a Hong Kong Work Permit?2020-02-14T09:05:29+00:00

There are currently no restrictions pertaining to nationality with regard to Hong Kong work permits. Therefore, anyone of any nationality is eligible for a work permit which is valid there.

What are the rates of Salary Tax in Hong Kong?2020-02-14T09:02:46+00:00

The lowest rate of salary tax in Hong Kong is 2%. The highest rate is 17%. Salary tax in Hong Kong is imposed based on the progressive system of tax rates.

Why is Hong Kong’s unemployment rate low?2020-02-14T08:56:21+00:00

Hong Kong’s economy has recently been on the upswing. Thus, the economic environment there has made it easier to be employed and remain in a job. This therefore creates a low unemployment rate.

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