There’s a lot to consider when you are moving to Hong Kong. Where to live, should you hire a helper, the list is endless. If you’re accompanying your spouse or partner on a posting, one of the biggest decisions you will make is whether or not to work here. Here’s some advice if you are looking for jobs in Hong Kong for expats.
The job hunt
Fortunately, if you’re on a dependant visa you’re automatically allowed to apply for work – no extra visa required. You might decide to further your present career or perhaps to explore something new. English teachers, for example, are in perennial demand, and a short course in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) can start you on that path.
Depending on the industry you work in, you may have trouble having your qualifications recognised, so it’s worth doing some research before you start applying. Recruitment agencies, online sources, classifieds and expat associations can all be helpful when it comes to finding work, although many jobs are found through networking – even Facebook groups can be very useful for this!
Starting a Business
Many expats come to Hong Kong with a host of fresh business ideas; others discover an entrepreneurial streak once they’ve settled in. In fact, small businesses, also known as small to medium enterprises (SMEs), make up about 46 percent of the private sector workforce in Hong Kong.
So, if you do have a great business idea, how do you turn it into a real-life proposition? Firstly, depending on the nature of your business, you will need to establish whether or not you require special licences or permits to conduct your business. The Department of Trade and Industry can help with this through their Business Licence Information Service.
Then decide whether you want to be a sole-proprietor, a partnership or a limited company. To register as a sole proprietor is surprisingly easy: visit the Business Registration office at the Inland Revenue Department building, fill in the forms and pay the fee. You will receive a business registration certificate, which needs to be displayed in your place of business. Business registration costs $2,500 a year, and you need to renew it annually. It’s also a good idea to hire an accountant who understands small businesses and tax, and ensure you notify the IRD of any changes to your contact details.
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This article appears in Expat Living’s annual City Guide. Get your FREE copy here.