Hong Kong Country Guide 2023
Hong Kong SAR is a city and special administrative region of China, and it is one of the most densely populated places in the word – expats should be prepared for massive crowds and cramped accommodation. It is a major global financial center, and has an extremely prosperous and modern environment. It is also in the world’s top 10 countries for fast internet speeds.
Hong Kong has a wide variety of public transport, and very advanced healthcare. While the official work week is pretty standard, people generally tend to work a lot of overtime. Hong Kong has relatively high income and low taxes, but cost of living is on the high side too, and tax is not withheld from the salary which means it is paid twice a year by every individual, which can be a little daunting.
- Capital: Hong Kong
- Spoken Languages: Chinese, English
- Currency: Hong Kong Dollar (HKD)
- Minimum monthly wage: 40.00 HKD (per hour)
Citizens of over 170 countries do not need a visa to enter Hong Kong if they are not staying for longer than 90 days; other individuals must acquire a visitor’s visa. It is technically possible for a foreign individual to acquire a job and get a work visa from within Hong Kong, however, the process is extremely difficult and it is advisable to apply for the work visa from abroad.
Work Permit / Residence Permit
The application for a work visa to Hong Kong can be done either via the Hong Kong Immigration Department by the employee, or by the prospective employer, and the requirements can be quite demanding. The individual must have a job offer from a Hong Kong company, should possess qualifications and relevant working experience that are not readily available in Hong Kong and should have a competitive salary; the company sponsoring the work visa should be financially stable and have a local office.
If the application is successful, the visa will be granted for 2 years and the individual will be allowed to enter Hong Kong and apply for a resident Hong Kong Identity card.
Social Security Registration
Individuals must be registered into the Mandatory Provident Fund scheme within 60 days of the start of the employment contract; this is done by the employer.
A standard working week in Hong Kong is 8 hours a day/40 hours a week.
There are no specific requirements regarding overtime, however, overtime hours and wage policies can be discussed with the employer when signing the employment contract.
- New Year’s Day, 01 Jan
- Lunar New Year’s Day, 22 Jan
- Second Day of Lunar New Year, 23 Jan
- Third Day of Lunar New Year, 24 Jan
- Ching Ming Festival, 05 Apr
- Good Friday, (Not a standard date, usually March/April)
- Day Following Good Friday, (Not a standard date, usually March/April)
- Easter Monday, (Not a standard date, usually March/April)
- Labour Day, 01 May
- The Birthday of the Buddha, 26 May
- Tuen Ng Festival, 22 Jun
- Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day, 01 Jul
- The second day following the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, 30 Sept
- National Day, 01 Oct
- Chung Yeung Festival, 23 Oct
- Christmas Day, 25 Dec
- Day after Christmas Day, 26 Dec
If a holiday falls on a Sunday, the Monday after it may be officially deemed a replacement holiday.
All employees under continuous contract for more than 12 months are entitled to an annual leave of 7 -14 days a year, depending on the length of service. The annual leave must be taken by the end of the year, with at least 7 days taken at one time.
|Years of Service||Number of Days|
Paid Sickness days in Hong Kong are accumulated at a rate of 2 days per month of employment within the first 12 months, and 4 days per month thereafter; while this can be accumulated for the whole duration of the employment, it cannot exceed 120 days at one given time.
The daily sickness allowance is 80% of the average daily wages during the year preceding the sick leave. The first 36 days must be supported by a certificate from a registered medical practitioner; after that, for the next 84 days maximum, another medical certificate may be requested.
Maternity / Paternity leave
- Maternity: 14 weeks, at 4/5th of the average daily wages provided the individual has worked for the employer for at least 40 weeks beforehand. Taken 2-4 weeks prior to the expected delivery date.
- Paternity: 5 days; may be taken at any time from 4 weeks before the expected birth to 14 weeks after the birth.
Termination & Severance
Upon employment termination, employees may be entitled to severance payment, provided the termination was not due to gross misconduct. The amount of pay is calculated by (last full month’s wages or average wages for last 12 months) * 2/3 * years of service, up to a maximum of 390,000 HKD.
The minimum notice period for both employers and employees is 7 days; however, this is normally negotiated during the signing of the employment contract and may differ.
There are no social security/insurance taxes in Hong Kong. However, all employees between ages 18 and 65 living and working in Hong Kong must join the Mandatory Provident Fund scheme, which provides retirement savings
Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF)
All employees must pay into the MPF, except for foreigners who are employed on a limited contract of less than 13 months, or are a member of an overseas retirement scheme. Enrollment into the MPF must be done within 60 days of the start of employment. The contribution is made monthly by the employer.
|Salary (HKD) – Monthly||Employer Contribution (%)||Employee Contribution (%)|
|< 7,100||5% of Salary||N/A|
|7,101 – 30,000||5% of Salary||5% of Salary|
|30,101 +||1,500 HKD Max||1,500HKD Max|
Pension in Hong Kong is covered by the Mandatory Provident Fund, and any individuals making contributions are eligible. If a foreign individual living and working in Hong Kong moves to another country, they may cash out their MPF fund as a one-time decision.
Taxation in Hong Kong
The Hong Kong fiscal year runs from April 1 to March 31 the following year.
In Hong Kong, individuals are only taxed in income earned in Hong Kong, and are charged progressively based on the net chargeable income.
The employer is not obligated to withhold tax for their employees; salary tax must be paid by the employee themselves in two installments between in January and April of the year following the year in which the tax return is issued. The following progressive rates apply for 2023:
|Net Chargeable Income (HKD)||Rate (%)|
|0 – 50,000||2%|
|50,001 – 100,000||6%|
|100,001 – 150,000||10%|
|150,001 – 200,000||14%|
Tax returns are issued to all individuals on the first working day of April every year, and they must be filed within a month of their date of issue.
Hong Kong has tax treaties with multiple other countries, which can reduce payable tax on certain incomes. However, since individuals working in Hong Kong are by default taxed on their salary that is acquired in Hong Kong only, double taxation is generally only applicable for other types of income.
Individuals working and living in Hong Kong are not required to have health insurance, and there is public healthcare that is either free or very cheap and available to all. However, some companies offer their employees extra health insurance as an incentive; it is also possible to acquire private health insurance if the individual so desires.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Hong Kong is on the high side, especially when living in the city centers. The estimated monthly cost for a single person is around 20,000– 25,000 HKD, with a whopping 12,000 – 17,000 going to rent, depending on the location.
How We Can Help
We provide a full set of services in Hong Kong allowing corporate clients, recruitment agencies and professional contractors to operate in an optimal manner while ensuring that all local employment obligations are taken care of.
Access Financial offers the following solution in Hong Kong:
- Employed/EOR Solution
If you would like to discuss how Access Financial can help in Hong Kong, please contact us.
We have prepared this as a guide only; it does not form part of an offer. Please request illustrations based on your specific case from one of our solution managers.