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An Expat’s Guide to Working in Hong Kong

Hong Kong, the global financial center and a crossroads between East and West provides expats with a diverse range of work prospects. While most occupations require a job offer to begin working in Hong Kong, some (IT, financial, legal, and other professionals) qualify for exemptions.

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Because many multinational firms have chosen Hong Kong as their Asian headquarters, the Hong Kong job market offers diverse career options. Many local businesses require their employees to have at least a basic command of Cantonese, thus applying to international corporations is usually the best approach to find a job in Hong Kong. What’s more, working as a self-employed person is also a possibility because Hong Kong enables foreigners to open enterprises.

An Expat’s Guide to Working in Hong Kong

What Every Expat Needs to Know About Working in Hong Kong

Whatever path you take, you’ll need a lot of money to live comfortably in Hong Kong. While some occupations have high average wages, to live comfortably in Hong Kong, you must earn at least double the national average.

In Hong Kong, the average working day is lengthy and strenuous. Saturday is considered a working day, and working overtime is pretty common. The availability of social security is determined by the length of your stay in the regions.

How to Find a Job in Hong Kong As A Foreigner

When looking for work in Hong Kong as a foreigner who does not speak Mandarin or Cantonese, you may face some difficulties. Employees at local businesses are frequently required to speak the local language. However, if you apply for companies that are more internationally focused, your chances of finding a job here will increase.

What Are The Job Opportunities in Hong Kong for Expats?

Under the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme, the Hong Kong government operates a program called Talent List, which encourages persons in particular fields to relocate to Hong Kong. This could be the greatest option for a foreigner to get a job in Hong Kong because those professions do not require a work offer to obtain a visa. The following professions are eligible:

  • Actuaries
  • Asset management professionals (investment analysts and consultants and fund managers)
  • Creative industries professionals (recording and mastering engineers (music), cutting and pressing engineers (vinyl), game developers and producers, film industry professionals)
  • Data scientists and cybersecurity specialists
  • Dispute resolution professionals and transactional lawyers
  • Fintech professionals
  • IT experts
  • Marine engineers and superintendents of ships
  • Marine insurance professionals
  • Naval architects
  • Waste treatment specialists

To be considered, applicants must meet specific educational and experience requirements. Each year, 1,000 expats are allowed to enter the country via this program.

What Are the Requirements for Expats to Work in Hong Kong?

It may be difficult to meet the requirements for a working visa in Hong Kong. To be given a visa to Hong Kong, one must have good qualifications, as well as an amazing background and experience. Your potential employer must also provide standard working and salary conditions in Hong Kong, as well as be able to demonstrate that no locals were qualified for the position.

You must apply for a work permit under the General Employment Policy to lawfully begin working in Hong Kong as a foreigner.

Tip: Networking Is A Friend

Networking is incredibly crucial in Hong Kong, just as it is in China, and it might lead to a terrific career chance. Start by looking for networking events in your area on social media; you can attend seminars relating to your field or join meetup groups. Bring some business cards with you because business cards are very crucial in Hong Kong, and be ready to market yourself. Communicate, mix, strike up small talk, and listen for any hint of a potential opportunity.

Getting Started: Applying for A Job in Hong Kong

Depending on what works best for you, you can write your resume in English or Cantonese. In most circumstances, neither will have a direct impact on your ability to get work in Hong Kong.

What’s a Hong Kong CV like?

A Hong Kong-style CV should adhere to the same guidelines as European-style job applications. The top of your resume should include your personal information, such as your name, address, email address, and phone number. In most circumstances, it is preferable to indicate your age rather than sending a photograph. You can include your marital status and visa status on your CV, but it is not required.

List the specifics of your schooling in chronological order, beginning with your most recent accomplishments. You can include a section for extracurricular activities and specific training, but keep it brief.

List the positions you’ve held in reverse time order (with the most recent job first) when providing information about your professional experience, highlighting those that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. When citing your accomplishments, remember to include supporting facts or illustrative evidence, as well as particular abilities such as languages or IT. In Hong Kong, unlike elsewhere in China, cover letters are prevalent, therefore included one with your CV can help you land a job.

Keep your CV as short as possible, and try to fit everything on one or two pages if at all possible. You are not required to submit proof of qualifications or references with your application, but you should bring them with you.

What to Expect: Minimum Wage and Average Salary of Expats in Hong Kong

An expat can expect to earn around 120–130 HKD (15–17 USD) per hour in Hong Kong, or roughly 240,000 HKD (30,000 USD) per year. However, it is dependent on the industry in which one works. Workers in real estate and professional and commercial services may expect to earn roughly 140 HKD (18 USD) per hour, while those in personal services can expect to earn around 170 HKD per hour (22 USD).

However, a monthly wage of 20,000 HKD (2,560 USD) is not regarded a “good” pay and would not guarantee you adequate living conditions. To live comfortably, you need to earn at least twice, if not quadruple, that amount.

In comparison to these figures, Hong Kong’s minimum wage is appallingly low, notwithstanding recent increases. Hong Kong’s minimum hourly salary is 37.5 HKD as of 1 May 2019. (approx. 5 USD).

An Expat’s Guide to Working in Hong Kong

Here Are the Most In-Demand Jobs and How Much They Pay

Finance and information technology are the most in-demand sectors. The following are the median hourly pay for the most sought-after professionals:

  • Digital Marketer (HKD 220 / USD 28)
  • Finance Analyst (HKD 180 / USD 23)
  • Software Engineer (HKD 160 / USD 20)
  • Business Analyst (HKD 160 / USD 20)

Hong Kong Working Hours

While most employment contracts say that normal working hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., most employees work extra regularly. Furthermore, many offices consider Saturday to be a working day. Even though the hours are shorter on Saturdays (from morning to lunchtime), they add up. People work an average of 50 hours each week, though working 60 hours or more is not uncommon.

Hong Kong workers also avoid taking vacation days and do not have many public holidays (17 in total).

Social Security and Benefits

In Hong Kong, social security contributions are 5% of an employee’s or self-employed worker’s wage. The minimum monthly wages required to make social security payments varies; it is now at 7,000 HKD (900 USD).

What Is the Process to Apply for Social Security in Hong Kong?

In Hong Kong, there are no social security numbers. You do not need to apply for one or get any special document or card to be eligible for government benefits and allowances. Because most social security benefits in Hong Kong are conditional on the length of your stay, this is the case. To be eligible for old age or disability benefits, you must have lived in Hong Kong for at least seven years. This means that foreigners are eligible for social security benefits if they fulfill certain criteria.

Here’s A List of Hong Kong’s Social Security Benefits:

The city government provides several welfare programs to residents to ensure that they have a reasonable and acceptable standard of living. These programs provide a safety net for those who are no longer capable of caring for themselves. While the state provides some benefits, you might also receive income from your employer.

One of the plans that was launched in Hong Kong in 2000 is the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF). This is a mandatory pension fund for employees. Once a person reaches retirement age, they can begin withdrawing money from their fund (60 for early retirement and 65 for the standard).

The Hong Kong Social Welfare Department administers a wide range of social security initiatives throughout the city. They are designed to help financially disadvantaged persons due to poverty, old age, unemployment, disability, a family member’s death, or natural calamities. The following are the most common schemes:

  • When people can no longer care for themselves financially, the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme (CSSA) helps them raise their income to a predetermined minimum level.
  • The Support for Self-Reliance Scheme (SFS) is designed to help unemployed people find new jobs.
  • The Social Security Allowance Scheme (SSA) is designed to meet the requirements of the aged and disabled persons of all ages.
  • The CSSA’s sister programme is the Portable Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme (PCSSA). It is, however, suited to the demands of older CSSA users who retire to Guangdong or Fujian.
  • The Criminal and Law Enforcement Injuries Compensation Scheme (CLEIC), the Traffic Accident Victims Assistance Scheme (TAVA), and the Emergency Relief (ER) fund assist victims of criminals, police brutality, traffic accidents, and natural disasters such as typhoons, fires, and flooding.

As you can tell, living in Hong Kong as an expat can be quite challenging at the beginning, but once you’re fully settled and have acclimated to its system, Hong Kong offers some of the most attractive standards of living and lifestyle setup for expats. If you have the credentials and can find a suitable company to work for, then make sure to grab this opportunity!

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