Hong Kong – The International Hub for Working and Living

Situated at the southeastern tip of China, Hong Kong is ideally positioned at the centre of East Asia, and is one of the most dynamic cities with an industrious population of more than 7 million people. Acting as the gateway to the world’s fastest growing economy and most exciting new market – China, Hong Kong is a major conduit for indirect trades between the mainland and other countries. Starting as a fisherman’s harbour some 100 years ago, Hong Kong has grown into a world-class international, financial, trading and business centre.

To search more about the Asia’s world city, explore its unique fusion of East & West, its tradition and innovation, vibrancy and serenity. The web of the Hong Kong Tourism Board tells you more!

  • Scenic Attractions: be amazed by the diverse contrasts and close proximity of stunning cityscapes and soaring mountains, extensive green countryside.
  • Shopping: enjoy the sheer variety of products and brands in all price ranges.
  • Cultural Exploration: taste the flavour and atmosphere of this cosmopolitan city that has been shaped by centuries of Chinese history and heritage and combined with more than 150 years of colonialism.
  • Food and Dining: sample a full choice of authentic Cantonese delicacies, Asian cuisines and western fare and enjoy delightful experiences in popular dining precincts.
  • Events and Festivals: experience the colourful and traditional festivals and enjoy the uniquely festive atmosphere.


Any foreign national intending to move to Hong Kong with the purpose of employment must obtain an employment visa issued by the Hong Kong Immigration Department. In addition, the accompanying family members, defined as spouse and children, must obtain dependant visas. The employment visa must be obtained prior to arrival in Hong Kong. By law, visitors are not allowed to take up employment (paid or unpaid), so a visitor’s visa is not a legally valid document for employment. The University, therefore, cannot execute commencement of duty unless an employment visa has been obtained.

Since 2006, dependant visa holders have been freed to take up employment or study in Hong Kong.

Learn more about visas >>

Hong Kong Identity Card (HKID)

Appointees from outside Hong Kong who enter and are permitted to stay in Hong Kong for more than 180 days are required by law to register for the issuance of a Hong Kong Identity Card within 30 days of their arrivals.  The University is also required by law to keep a record of identification of all its staff.

Learn more about Hong Kong Identity Card >>

Mobile networks offering 4G and 5G mobile services are available and real-name registration for SIM cards has been fully implemented.

Learn more about choosing mobile network operator >>

Learn more about real-name registration for SIM cards >>

Rental of fixed telephone lines is readily available and allows for an unlimited number of calls within Hong Kong on payment of a fixed monthly charge.

Broadband internet access services are very affordable as broadband networks cover virtually all commercial buildings and households.

There are over 5,000 Wi Fi hot spots in Hong Kong and the number is growing rapidly. 

The electricity supply in Hong Kong is in the form of Alternating Current (AC) at a frequency of 50 Hertz.  For domestic customers, the voltage supplied is either 220 volts single phase or 220/380 volts 3 phase 4 wires. 3 rectangular pin-plugs and sockets are used in Hong Kong. While buying an electrical appliance/adaptor, particularly from places out of Hong Kong, please first make sure the appliance is suitable for operating with the electricity supply system in Hong Kong safely and efficiently.

With the long established banking system, Hong Kong is a major international banking and financial center to provide a wide variety of comprehensive banking services and products. Also, most overseas banking institutions have local representative offices in Hong Kong.

Electronic banking facilities and internet banking services are widely used in Hong Kong, including most international credit cards such as VISA, MasterCard and American Express which are generally acceptable.

Hong Kong dollar notes in everyday circulation are $10, $20, $50, $100, $500 and $1,000, while the Government issues coins of $10, $5, $2, $1, 50 cents, 20 cents and 10 cents.

In general, the Hong Kong dollar exchange rate remains stable within a band of HK$7.75-7.85 to one US dollar.

Octopus Card and other digital payment platforms are commonly found in Hong Kong.

Learn more about Octopus Card >>

Learn more about e-Payment and Transfer in Hong Kong >>

Learn more about Digital Wallet in Hong Kong (SCMP) >>

Space is at a premium in Hong Kong, and as a consequence, housing is an expensive commodity. Most private units are in the form of apartments in high-rise buildings.  An apartment of 500-800 square feet is considered as medium-sized housing for locals.

Prices fluctuate, and generally reflect the state of the property market.  Private housing in certain districts such as Hong Kong Island South and Mid-levels, village houses, and apartments with sea view are particularly expensive.  In recent years, many new private housing estates are established in areas like Tseung Kwan O, West Kowloon, Tsuen Wan and Yuen Long.

Property for rent or sale is advertised through various media and estate agents.  Agents can show you different premises with reference to your selection criteria.  They can provide information, make reasonable enquiries, conduct negotiation on your behalf and assist in entering into an enforceable Tenancy Agreement or Sales & Purchase Agreement as appropriate. 

In seeking assistance from property agents, a prospective tenant/purchaser will be asked to sign an Engagement Agreement of Property Agents.  Usually, the charges of the commission will be stated in the Agreement.  Agents normally charge both the tenant and the landlord each at half a month’s agreed rental.  Regarding sale and purchase, the agent would charge as commission, both the purchaser and the vendor each at not higher than 1% (negotiable) of the transaction value.

In the event of renting a flat, the owner will require a two-month deposit – not including the first month’s rent – and together with the aforementioned commission, the tenant needs to pay an amount equals to 3.5 months’ rent in advance to moving into a chosen flat.  Rents may or may not include rates and management fees, which are paid for such services as property management, maintenance, security and garbage collection.  Additional charges are normally required for leasing car park spaces.  You may also need to pay a deposit towards the phone, electricity and other utilities.

The terms of lease vary, but generally the first year is a fixed term period and the second year is an open one.  By fixed term, it means the rental cannot be changed and if the tenants intend to move out, she/he still has to pay to the landlord rental of the remaining month(s) in the one year period as penalty.  When the fixed term period is over, the major terms normally remain unchanged, but both parties can terminate the lease by serving the other party one or two months’ notice as stipulated in the tenancy/agreement.

You are chargeable to Salaries Tax on your income arising in or derived from Hong Kong from an office or employment. 

A year of assessment runs from 1 April to 31 March of the following year.

Salaries Tax payable is calculated at progressive rates on your net chargeable income or at standard rate on your net income, whichever is lower.

Net Chargeable Income: Total Income – Deductions - Allowances

Net Income: Total Income – Deductions

Provisional Salaries Tax for a year is usually based on the income less the allowances of the preceding year.

Learn more about tax >>

You may use a Tax Computation Programme designed by the Inland Revenue Department to calculate your own Salaries Tax liability.

All kindergartens in Hong Kong are privately run and they can be categorized as non-profit-making kindergartens and private independent kindergartens depending on their sponsoring organizations, which can be either voluntary agencies or private enterprises. There are plenty of international / English-speaking kindergartens using English as the medium of instruction. Their charges and qualities may vary to a substantial extent. You are therefore advised to seek detailed information on respective nurseries/kindergartens and, if possible, to pay visits there on your own before securing a place for your child(ren). The lists of kindergartens and kindergarten-cum-childcare centres are available here.

Schools funded by the Government provide free education to local students from Primary 1 to Secondary 6 (equivalent to grades 1 through 12 in the US system) . The language policy in these schools is to enable students to learn effectively, and to be bi-literate and tri-lingual, i.e. write good Chinese and English and speak Cantonese, Putonghua and English fluently.

In September 2006,  Hong Kong Baptist University opened its Affiliated Schools, the Wong Kam Fai Secondary and Primary School, the first of its kind in Hong Kong. The mission of the school is to provide students with quality education based on Christian values and the concern for others. The schools’ curriculum aims at developing the 3 Ls: (i.e. literacy in English, Chinese and Information Technology). 

Learn more about Wong Kam Fai Secondary and Primary Schools >>

ESF schools have traditionally taught the National Curriculum of England and Wales, adapted to the Hong Kong context, and the schools are now moving to a curriculum leading to the International Baccalaureate programme. They draw students from all the English-speaking communities in Hong Kong, and application is open to any child who has the linguistic ability to benefit from an English-medium education. The ESF was established in 1967, and now administers about twenty schools including, secondary, primary, ‘all-through’ schools, kindergartens and a school for children with special educational needs. Academic attainment is high, and the schools all have a good record of their alumni successfully entering into tertiary education worldwide. All ESF schools are co-educational, day schools with a comprehensive intake.

Learn more about the ESF schools >>

In Hong Kong, there is a vibrant international school sector with more than 50 international schools operating curricula of the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, Germany, France, Singapore and the International Baccalaureate Organization. These schools are providing international education services and have traditionally been meeting the demand from non-Chinese students and foreign nationals most of whom would eventually return to their home countries for further education. Class size, demographics, admission requirements and application procedures as well as tuition fees vary from school to school. In general, they charge relatively higher tuition and entry fees, and require either the purchase of a debenture or payment of a capital contribution, to cover all school-related costs.

Separately, about 90 schools are currently operated under the Direct Subsidy Scheme (DSS) and the Private Independent School Scheme (PIS), both of which are funded by the Hong Kong Government. These schools have their operational autonomy in terms of medium of instruction, curriculum design, fees, and entrance requirements. The international schools, DSS and PIS schools form a private school sector other than government and aided schools so that parents have greater choice in finding suitable schools for their children.

It is possible to contact schools regarding application procedures upon or before arrival in Hong Kong. Students may enter most schools at any time during the term provided a place is available. It is not possible, however, to secure placement in a particular school prior to arrival as most of the schools popular with expatriates require a pre-admission personal interview. Furthermore, it is advisable to visit the school and talk with the admissions office and/or principal to ensure the school is appropriate before considering the enrolment. 

For general information about school education in Hong Kong, please visit the homepage of the Education Bureau and detailed information about education services for non-Chinese speaking students.

Public transportation in Hong Kong is efficient, relatively inexpensive and user-friendly. The system covers extensive areas of Hong Kong with all signs and announcements in English and Chinese. Most public transport accept payment of fares using Octopus, which is an electronic payment system using the simple no-touch-swiping of a smart card. The Octopus cards are available for purchase at the MTR stations.

Driving Licence

Driving in Hong Kong is possible for overseas driving license holders by applying for a valid driving license or driving on strength of their valid overseas driving license or international driving permit.

Learn more about the driving licenses >>

Most foreign domestic helpers are from the Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand. If you are looking for a domestic helper from abroad, you need to be a Hong Kong resident with a monthly household income of no less than HK$ 15,000 or assets of a comparable amount to support the employment of the helper for the entire contractual period (a minimum of 2 years). You can recruit the foreign domestic helper through an agency or directly via personal ads or recommendations. In either case, you should enter into a standard employment contract as specified by the Director of Immigration and apply to the Immigrations Department for an employment visa for your helper.

Standard employment contract for foreign domestic helpers >>

Guidelines for Entry into Hong Kong >>

As an employer, you are required under the Employee’s Compensation Ordinance to take out a valid insurance policy for your domestic helper to cover all your liabilities for compensation. You are also required to provide free medical treatment for your foreign domestic helper when he/she is ill or suffers from injury. You are therefore advised to take out a comprehensive insurance policy that covers both your liabilities for employee’s compensation and potential medical and other expenses of your helper.

More details about employment of foreign domestic helpers >>

If you are looking for a local domestic helper, you may choose to post your vacancy or search online for candidates through the Employees Retraining Board and the Interactive Employment Service from the Labour Department.

During the recruitment process, you should observe the laws of Hong Kong on equal opportunities as well as on protection of personal data. When you have selected the right candidate, you should enter into a written employment contract with him/her. Under the Employee’s Compensation Ordinance, you are also required to take out a valid insurance policy for your domestic helper (including those being recruited on an hourly basis) to cover all your liabilities for compensation.

View more about Sample employment contract

As for foreign domestic helpers, you should pay them no less than the prevailing Minimum Allowance Wage at the time of signing the contract and factor in the living costs of your foreign domestic helper. Moreover, you should take into consideration any additional costs that you may need to incur in hiring a foreign domestic helper (e.g. air fare, costs of health check).

View more about  Prevailing Minimum Allowable Wage

Hong Kong has a sub-tropical climate with distinct seasonal changes. The four seasons are:

Summer (late May to mid-October) is hot and humid. Three quarters of Hong Kong's rain falls during these months. Temperatures rise to 33°C(92°F) or higher, with humidity around 90%. Cyclones, known locally as typhoons, nearly always affect Hong Kong during these months.

Autumn (late October to early December) is cool and dry with bright blue skies and little rainfall. The average temperature is 22°C (72°F).

Winter (mid-December to late February) is moderately cold with low humidity. The average temperature is 16°C (61°F) but the temperature often drops lower.

Spring (March to late May) gets warmer and wetter. It may rain for a week or two at a time and mildew is often a problem. The average temperature is 21°C (68°F).

In general, the healthcare services are provided by public and private sectors in Hong Kong.

There is a selection of medical treatment and rehabilitation facilities available in public hospitals, day hospitals, specialist clinics, general out-patient clinics Chinese Medicine service and community outreach services under the public healthcare sector, while numerous private hospitals and medical services are all easy to access. 

Details can be found from the website of the Hong Kong Hospital Authority

There are 17 general public holidays in Hong Kong:

  • The first day of January
  • Lunar New Year’s Day
  • The second day of Lunar New Year
  • The third day of Lunar New Year
  • Ching Ming Festival
  • Good Friday
  • Day following Good Friday
  • Easter Monday
  • Labour Day
  • The Birthday of the Buddha
  • Tuen Ng Festival
  • Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day
  • Day following Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival
  • National day
  • Chung Yeung festival
  • Christmas Day
  • Day following Christmas Day

The exact dates of the above holidays will be announced by the Government every year and can be found here.

In case of emergency, you may call for assistance from the Police, Fire Department or an ambulance by dialing 999.