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Qualifications and Training

Hong Kong - Qualifications and Training

Qualifications and training to work in Hong Kong varies by professions. Each profession has its own requirements and standards and adhering to those is important. In most cases, when you’re applying for your work permit you will need to show proof of your relevant work experience and education in order for your application to be approved.

The majority of expats who move to Hong Kong are either transferred or relocated by their current company or hired by a foreign company for their particular skills and experience. In most cases, the individual will already possess the necessary qualifications and training since that is almost certainly what attracted the company to the professional in the first place. This is of particular importance since the employer who sponsors you must prove to the government that a foreigner is needed to fill the position since a native of Hong Kong is unable to do so.

Many expats move to Hong Kong to teach. Teaching opportunities can include teaching English to Hong Kong natives or might include teaching a curriculum based study in an international school. The children who attend the international school could be the children of other expats or the children of government officials. The requirements for teaching in the international schools will vary based on the type of school it is, but most of these require a degree in teaching from the teacher’s native country. A BA in Education, for instance, might suffice for Americans. Most of the schools want their foreign teachers to have relevant experience, too, and this can include up to three years of teaching in the school system in their native country.

Teaching English to non-native speakers generally asks for different requirements. Those wishing to teach ESL (English as a Second Language) should be certified to teach in this area, although relevant experience is not always important. TEFL qualified teachers occasionally have degrees in higher education but are also trained to specifically teach ESL also. Teachers who work in ESL have historically made less money than those who teach in primary and secondary schools abroad. However, if you don’t have a teaching degree then it is faster and easier to get qualified to teach ESL so this could present a better option. You can often get qualified in TEFL in less than six months.

Those who wish to work in journalism in Hong Kong should have a degree in journalism and some relevant experience. This experience and background can vary, considering the different news mediums that are around today, but it should still exist. The major news stations, magazines, and newspapers in Hong Kong are searching for those who do not need training and can begin working on assignments immediately.

In the banking and finance sector, not only are degrees and relevant work experience required, it’s almost impossible for an expat to get hired into this type of employment without being scouted out. Most expats who work in banking and finance have been transferred by their local company. There are other cases where the expat applied for a job with the Hong Kong foreign company but evidence of your success in this industry, education, and work experience will all be necessary in this extremely competitive field.

Expats normally do not have to worry about qualifications transferring because, generally speaking, if the company in Hong Kong is considering hiring you then the qualifications you possess are already being accepted.

Once you arrive in Hong Kong, it might be helpful to take basic lessons in Cantonese. You should check with your company, first, to see if they offer any of these. If they don’t, then you can normally enroll in a local school and take classes that are geared toward non-native speakers. These are inexpensive, helpful, and only last a couple of months.

A work visa is something that’s necessary to possess if you are going to work in Hong Kong. In order to get a work visa, a company must offer you a job and then sponsor you. Sponsoring individuals for work visas is complicated since the company has to prove that they were unable to find any locals who were qualified for the position. As the potential employee, you must show that you have the relevant work experience, educational background, and the qualities that the position requires.

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.