WORKING ABROAD / JUL. 24, 2013
version 2, draft 2

How to Relocate to Hong Kong for Employment

Hong Kong has one of the world’s most open and dynamic economies. With a strong legal system, virtually no public debt, ample foreign exchange reserves and a rigorously enforced anti-corruption regime, it is a safe and financially sensible location to relocate to.

Hong Kong enjoys substantial economic ties with the United States and there are some 1400 US firms operating in the region.  This makes it a hot spot for international job seekers and expats of all professionals and industry backgrounds seeking work in Hong Kong, or seeking employment with a reputable US company.

Working in Hong Kong

Many Hong Kong businesspeople are well educated in Western schools and possess a strong international perspective. Business style is often compared with that of the United States.

Locals have a competitive advantage over foreign nationals seeking employment in Hong Kong. Not only do nationals have the right to work without requiring a work permit, but they also possess the required language skills of Chinese and English, which most international companies request from their employees.

The level of competition in the labor market cannot be disregarded and local job seekers must hold a range of transferable skills, work experiences, and academic qualifications in order to succeed in their chosen career.

As a worker within Hong Kong, punctuality is extremely important and it is respectable to either be on time or early for an appointment or meetings. It is important to always carry business cards with you, which must be printed in English on one side and Chinese on the other. Upon introduction, present your business card with both hands and always place your received business card in a business card holder or other respectable location. Building relationships is very important and it can take time to do so.

Work Permits

All non- residents who wish to work in Hong Kong will require the necessary work permit and visa. All applications will be assessed by the Immigration Department, who will usually examine factors such as education level, applicable work experience (that is considered to be in short supply in Hong Kong) and the contribution the individual can make to the economy, trade and industry. In addition, the Immigration Department must ascertain whether the position could be filled by a local resident or not.

Individuals seeking to take up employment in Hong Kong will be required to satisfy the Director of Immigration that they have unique skills, experience and knowledge that will be of value to Hong Kong. In addition, without a pre-arranged job and supportive employer, it can be very difficult to be granted a work permit. Typically, work permits will last for a period of six months or more.

Hong Kong Business Etiquette

Personal relationships are an integral part of doing business in Hong Kong and it is important to respect the culture and etiquette of this nation.

When doing business in Hong Kong it is important to observe the correct etiquette, particularly within the working environment. When addressing a business associate you must use their professional title, along with their last name.

Workplace attire must be respectable and conservative, and displaying too much skin is considered offensive. Neutral colors are recommended for a business meeting; although the color red is highly regarded.

As long as you can handle the change in climate and culture then there are many positives for relocating to Hong Kong, so why not give it a chance?

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