So you have an inkling that you might move to Asia to find work, but you have no idea where to start? Why not try Hong Kong? Hong Kong Working Holiday Visa s are available for citizens of certain countries aged between 18 and 30. It could be you! Hong Kong is an amazingly busy, cultured and fascinating place. You will also find it an easy place to get work – I moved to Hong Kong back in 2011 and had about 8 or 9 different jobs in the Kong – I use it as my base for my most recent travels!!
What is Hong Kong?
Is it a city, country, region, colony or province? That’s really up for debate. Call it a country and it won’t mind – they have their own currency (Hong Kong Dollars), their own language (Cantonese/Guangdonghua), their own visa regulations (this isn’t quite China!) and the ultimate in deciding whether a place is a country or not – a National Football Team. So I call it a country! It’s not really a city as you’ll discover, because of the outlying islands and new territories which consist of gorgeous fishing villages that feast your eyes and taste buds away from the bustling skyscraper growth in Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. My advice? Get that visa and get out to Hong Kong!
Everything you need to know is on the Official Hong Kong Immigration Website. But since I have been through the Hong Kong Working Holiday Visa process first hand, I thought I’d make things a bit easier for you…
Do I need to be able to read or speak Chinese? No, you don’t need to speak Chinese. The Hong Kong Immigration Website is also available in English and indeed there are three main languages used in the Kong: Chinese Mandarin (Putonghua), Cantonese (Guangdonghua) and English (Ying Man). Cantonese remains the number one language, but English is used for a lot of businesses.
How do I get a Hong Kong Working Holiday Visa? For a start, do everything yourself, don’t be using any agencies. Head to the Hong Kong Immigration Official Website and check if you are eligible. If you are, download the application form here.
What Age Groups Can Apply for a Hong Kong Working Holiday Visa? You MUST be aged between 18 and 30 when you apply.
What Nationalities Can Apply for a Hong Kong Working Holiday Visa? Currently only passport holders of the Republic of Korea, Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Japan and New Zealand.
How Do I Apply for a Hong Kong Working Holiday Visa? Download the application form from the link here, print it out, fill it in with a pen and post it off!
Can I apply by e-mail or fax? NO, you can only apply by post.
Does a Hong Kong Working Holiday Visa allow me to visit China, Macao, Taiwan and Tibet? NO, those countries all have their own Visa regulations and you will need to apply separately for each one (though a lot of nationalities don’t require visas for Macao and Taiwan). However getting a China Visa in Hong Kong is easy as I found out. For the other countries visits this will depend on your nationality.
How long will it take for the Hong Kong Working Holiday Visa to be approved? Again this depends. I applied on an Irish Passport and received confirmation by post within a few weeks. I lived in Australia at the time.
How much does a Hong Kong Working Holiday Visa cost? My Hong Kong Working Holiday Visa was FREE. I applied on an Irish passport and as you can see from the photo below, there was NO FEE. There may be a charge for other nationalities.
How long can I stay in Hong Kong with a Working Holiday Visa? It runs for exactly one year from the day you arrive in Hong Kong.
How long can I work for under my Hong Kong Working Holiday Visa? You can work for all 12 months of your stay but officially you can only stay with one employer for 3 months (or 6 months if you are from South Korea)
Can I extend my Hong Kong Working Holiday Visa? NO, after one year that is it. You can only get one Hong Kong Working Holiday Visa in your lifetime (although changing your name and nationality may be an option!!)
How long is my Hong Kong Working Holiday Visa Valid For? Once your visa is confirmed you have 3 months to enter Hong Kong and activate it.
What else might I need to get a Hong Kong Working Holiday Visa? You might be asked for a recent bank statement to confirm you have enough funds. You might also be asked for proof of travel insurance for your stay. (in both cases send them a photocopy as proof and that should be enough).
Are there any other limits? Yes, and the last point to note is that each country has a maximum limit per year. For example only 100 Irish people per year can possess a Hong Kong Working Holiday Visa (I was one of the lucky ones!!). A useful resource for Irish people is here.
So that’s it folks!! If you are eligible to apply then go for it!!
Right so now you have landed in Hong Kong with your Working Holiday Visa activated you need four more things, as I see it:
– a place to stay
– a Hong Kong ID card
– a Hong Kong bank account
– a JOB!!
You could start off by staying at the notorious Chung King Mansions in Tsim Sha Tsui. You can make an appointment to get your Hong Kong ID card here. It’s a fairly straight forward process. As for opening a bank account, there are simply thousands of banks in Hong Kong!! Next step is to find a job and the good news is there are LOTS of jobs in Hong Kong – it’s a vibrant, booming place. The main types of jobs you can get are bar work, teaching and office jobs:
1. Bar Work:
My first job in Hong Kong was working in a bar. There is lots of bar work available in Hong Kong. I worked in the excellent Delaney’s Irish Pub in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. The main parts of Hong Kong to get bar work are Lan Kwai Fong, Wan Chai and Tsim Sha Tsui.
There are lots of jobs teaching in Hong Kong, mostly for Native English Teachers. I have got teaching jobs in Kindergartens, Primary Schools, Private Teaching and at Events. Easy to come by and decent rates of pay. In most cases you will need some sort of TEFL or degree (I will reveal more on that in future posts). Read my post on why Hong Kong needs English teachers.
3. Office Jobs:
Anyone that knows me knows that I actually despise office jobs and often look down on those in these types of jobs. However there are LOTS of jobs like this in Hong Kong if that is what you’re after. I’ll talk more about this in future but basically I live a lifestyle of travel – I do what I want, when I want and where I want most of the time. Why would you want to spend your entire life working away for some company in an office 9am – 9pm all your life. Think about it!! I have spent a couple of years of my life doing Office Work including a year in London doing PR for Apple. Over time I realised I want to live my own life the way I want it, so my all means go for an office job, but don’t forget to clock out at 5pm and live your life the way you want it!! That said I have enjoyed doing some part time PR work at Internations Events in Hong Kong!
So there you have it, a long winded post and believe it has taken me a lot of time and effort to write this!! During the process I have had a broken computer, a CRASHED server and a faulty hard drive. I always seem to gloss over the bad parts of travel writing. I’m now typing this on an unresponsive keyboard!! But the important thing is you now know how to get a Hong Kong Working Holiday Visa!! Feel free to leave me a comment or ask me any questions!
You might also be keen to know how to get an Australian Working Holiday Visa and I will have plenty more to come on Visas, Hong Kong and teaching.
Don’t Stop Living – a lifestyle of travel:
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