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Foreigner Working in Hong Kong

To work and reside in Hong Kong, you must hold a residence and work permit. Whether you can obtain a residence and work permit depends, first and foremost, on your qualifications.

Hong Kong is a famous international business and financial city in the world, it requires a variety of highly skilled and educated talents and professional from abroad to grow its strong workforces, maintain its economic growth and remain its competitiveness in the new global economy.

To work in one of the world’s most exciting cities, you need a Hong Kong work permit and residency. Hong Kong is an internationally renowned business and financial hub, in a truly cosmopolitan city. But, to work in Hong Kong, you need to prove you have the talent it needs to help the economy grow.

Hong Kong recognises it has a shortage of qualified professionals to fill positions within some areas of industry. The government encourages foreigners to apply for these positions and move to Hong Kong to take up residency. It allows foreigners to apply for working visas to build a strong workforce. This helps grow Hong Kong’s economy to ensure it remains internationally competitive. For official residency and work status in Hong Kong, you need to apply for either an entrepreneur or Hong Kong working visa (also known as an employment visa).

Hong Kong Work Permit – How To Obtain A Work Permit In Hong Kong

Applying for a working visas

It is a catch-22 situation when you want to work in Hong Kong. You need a job and a sponsor before you can apply for a working visa. This visa is usually granted for 1 – 2 years depending on the employment conditions. Extensions are available on application, usually on a 3-year basis.

To apply for a working visa, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • Hold a recognized university degree or above
  • Have a confirmed employment offer by a Hong Kong company

Finding a job

You need an employer to sponsor you to work in Hong Kong. It is easier to get a job in the area before moving as you need to have the right visa in place.

Hong Kong has rapidly growing industries where relevant skills are in short supply. While the finance sector was a high-level employer of foreigners in the past, other areas of corporate business are quickly expanding. The best place to find work is with multinational companies with offices in Hong Kong. Areas looking for specific skill sets include the finance, information technology, human resources, digital advertising and legal areas.

While English is the most common language used in the business sector, it helps to also speak Cantonese.

Salary Index

Moving to Hong Kong is an exciting time. There is so much to do finding a job. Your monthly wage depends on your job, hours worked and agreement with your employer.

Download the 2016 salary index

Employment rights

Here are some basic rights to expect when working in Hong Kong.


Employees in Hong Kong are entitled to paid wages for any work period of at least the minimum statutory wage (currently approx. HK$32.50 an hour).

Maximum working hours

There are no maximum working hours in Hong Kong.

Statutory and public holidays

There are two holiday systems in Hong Kong, it depends on your employer and employment contract:

  • Public Holidays. Public holidays include every Sunday, plus the 12 statutory days and an extra 5 days.
  • Statutory Holidays. All Hong Kong employees are entitled to 12 days statutory holidays a year. You are only entitled to be paid if you have been working for your employer for three months immediately prior to the holiday.

Annual leave

Your annual leave entitlement depends on your length of continuous service to your employer. In Hong Kong, annual leave entitlement ranges from 1 – 2 weeks plus any rest days and statutory holidays. You are entitled to annual leave after 1 year’s employment service.

Sick leave

You are entitled to paid sick leave after working for an employer continuously for a minimum of one month before taking sick leave. You earn paid sick leave at the rate of 2 days for every one month of employment for the first 12 months. It then accumulates at a rate of 4 days a month up to a maximum of 120 days of sick leave entitlements accrued. Sick leave is paid where you can support it with a medical certificate.

Maternity leave

Female employees are entitled to 10 weeks paid maternity leave if she has worked for the employer continuously for 40 weeks up to the date maternity leave commences. Maternity leave is paid at 80% of the average wage the employee would earn in a year. An employer cannot terminate an employee that gives notice of maternity leave unless:

  • the employer already has just cause to dismiss the employee without notice
  • the employee is on a 12-week probationary period.

Termination requirements

An employee or employer can terminate an employment contract during the first month of a probationary working period. During the rest of the probationary period, either party can terminate the contract with a minimum of 7 days’ notice.

If there is no written agreement as to the length for a notice to terminate the employment, then either party must give a minimum of one month’s notice. If at any time the employer wishes to terminate within the notice period, they can by paying out the remainder of the notice period.

All entitlements must be paid on termination and are dependent on the reasons for employment termination. Contact us for more information and with any questions about working in Hong Kong. We are here to help.

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8 things you need to know about working in Hong Kong Read more
How to find a job in Hong Kong? Read more
Start your business in Hong Kong Read more


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