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Employment Contract & Work Permit

In Hong Kong, employment contract can be a permanent one or for a fixed term. In case a period is not specified in the contract, it is deemed to be a contract for one month, renewable from month to month when the employee has worked for the employer for at least 18 hours per week for a continuous period of four weeks.

Written employment contracts are not mandatorily required, although in practice, most contracts are written. English and Chinese both are the official languages in Hong Kong. English is widely used by the legal, corporate, professional and financial sectors.

Probationary periods do not face any restrictions in Hong Kong and are common, typically ranging from three to six months. Either party can terminate the contract during the first month of probationary period, notwithstanding what is written in a contract. Employers are not required to provide notice to the employee before ending an employment contract.

Agency workers are not as common in Hong Kong as in certain other countries in Asia, slightly due to the comparative easiness with which employers can terminate employment in Hong Kong.

The Employment Ordinance further divides employees as under contract and employees under a continuous employment contract. Employees under an employment contract are eligible for basic protection under the EO including restrictions on wage deductions, payment of wages, the granting of statutory holiday, and other benefits.


Hong Kong employment contract specifies the agreed terms and conditions of employment between the employer and employee. It involves both explicit and implied terms. The contract terms should abide by the minimum requirements under the Employment Ordinance. Employment contracts can be oral or written. In case they are in written form, it is compulsory for all employers to provide employees with a copy of the written employment contract. The employers should secure their employee’s consent prior to making any changes, alterations or additions to the terms of a contract.

In the free market like Hong Kong, either parties are independent to negotiate on the terms and conditions of employment under the scope of Employment Ordinance and other laws.


In absence of any express agreement to the contrary, every contract of employment is deemed to be a contract for one month and renewable from month to month when the contract is deemed as “continuous”.


Hong Kong provides different classes of visa for employment and investment, some of which are as Visas under:

  • The General Employment Policy (GEP);
  • The Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals (ASMTP);
  • Immigration Arrangements for Non-Local Graduates (IANG);
  • Admission Scheme for the Second Generation of Chinese Hong Kong Permanent Residents; and
  • Capital Investment Entrant Scheme (CIES).

The permits are granted to individuals based on the analysis of qualifications and specific skills set that are not possessed by the Hong Kong local citizens also there is no limit to the number of visas. A work visa will not be an issue for a highly qualified skilled professional considering the country has a shortage of such specific skills.


Most workers will fall under General Employment Policy (GEP) or Technology Talent Admission Scheme and has to undergo following eligibility criteria:

  • It is to be proved that the applicant has a skill that are not readily available in Hong Kong.
  • An individual should have secured an employment offer from the company before the visa application is submitted.
  • Individual should possess exceptional educational background with a relevant degree, excellent technical qualifications, notable achievements and experience in the chosen field of work.
  • An individual should be placed in a management level job position and the salary should not be more than the standards set by local professionals (minimum 20,000 HKD).
  • Documentation as to clean criminal record.
  • The sponsoring company must be financially stable.
  • In addition, sufficient proof confirming that the employee will contribute positively towards improving Hong Kong’s economy.


Under a GEP visa an extension of two years is granted for the first time. While extending for the second time visa will be valid for an additional two years further for the third time it will be valid for a period of three years.


This visa is geared toward those looking to open a business or start investment in Hong Kong. Applicants must submit a detailed two-year business plan and have enough capital to keep the business afloat for the first six months. Investment visas expire after two years, but holders can apply for an additional two years, then another three years.

Businessmen can also attain this visa as part of the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme, where they invest HKD 10 million in Hong Kong to gain residency in the city. As part of an October 2010 change to the scheme, investments in real estate are exempt from the HKD 10 million, which was also raised from the previous threshold of HKD 6.5 million. But other investments that qualify include equities, debt securities, certificates of deposits and subordinated debt. The government doesn’t cap the number of investment visas it gives out a year.

To be eligible for this visa, applicants are required to show the following:

  • No criminal records;
  • A good education background;
  • A viable business plan in place, including business turnover, financial resources, etc.

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