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Useful Information for New Staff

Living & Working in Hong Kong

Living in Hong Kong

GovHK is the one-stop portal of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, making information and services of the public sector easier to find and use. Non-residents can learn different aspects of living and working in Hong Kong and support services for new arrivals to integrate into the community at GovHK. The following sections highlight the key information which we hope can assist you in settling in Hong Kong in a smoother way. 

There are several options which you may consider for accommodation in Hong Kong. It is important for you to observe your rights and legal responsibilities as a tenant or a homeowner. It is common to search for properties through the assistance of licensed estate agents. The website of the Estate Agents Authority offers useful information and points to note when engaging estate agents and buying or renting properties in Hong Kong.

Renting an Apartment

Details about renting an apartment are set out in the GovHK. You are advised to consider carefully the lease period, amount of rent and deposit, and whether furniture and electrical appliances are provided when you sign the tenancy agreement with the landlord. If you decide to engage a licensed estate agent, you should clarify with him or her details of the engagement such as the amount of commission and the time of payment before signing the estate agency agreement. More information about creating and signing a tenancy agreement is available at the website of the Estates Agents Authority.

Serviced Apartment

Serviced apartment has a rising popularity as its rental period is relatively flexible and it is usually furnished with comprehensive facilities and all-round services. There is an increasing number of choices of serviced apartments near the University and in the Central and Western Districts. Information can be found at the website of HKU CEDARS.

University Housing Accommodation

Temporary Accommodation

The University receives many guests throughout the year, including visiting scholars, delegations for research and academic collaboration and other visitors. Accommodation for guests is available at Robert Black College, St. John's College and Graduate House of the University.

Senior Staff Quarters

Eligible appointees may apply for housing accommodation at Senior Staff Quarters at a monthly rental of 10% of basic salary. Appointees should refer to their Letters of Appointment on matters of eligibility for housing benefits.

Staff members who are not eligible for university-arranged accommodation may also apply at market rates subject to availability. Information of University accommodation can be obtained at the Finance and Enterprises Office and Estates Office website.

Occupants of University housing accommodation are required to pay their own utility charges (e.g. water, gas, telephone and internet services). Enquiries on accommodation allocation and related matters can be directed to the Finance and Enterprises Office (Tel: 2859 2423 / 2859 1981; E-mail: feo-hkuhousing@hku.hk) or to the Estates Office (Tel: 2816 2603 / 2816 2270; E-mail: HMU@estates.hku.hk).

Buying a Flat

Buying a flat is not an easy decision and there are various areas of concerns which you may pay attention to. The GovHK provides you with detailed information on buying a flat in Hong Kong.

Utilities

To arrange for connection of utilities such as water, electricity, gas and telephone line, you may visit the websites below:

Water Supplies Department
Hong Kong Electric Co. Ltd. (for premises on Hong Kong Island and Lamma Island)
CLP Power Hong Kong Ltd. (for premises in Kowloon, the New Territories and most outlying islands)
Hong Kong and China Gas Co. Ltd.
PCCW-HKT Ltd.

A website on Education for Non-Chinese Speaking Children, maintained by the Hong Kong Education Bureau, provides useful information on international education in Hong Kong. General information on kindergarten, primary and secondary education is also available here.

In Hong Kong it is common to acquire the services of an in-house or part-time domestic helper. You must observe the strict rules and regulations for the employment of a domestic helper. 

To hire a foreign in-house domestic helper, please visit the GovHK for up-to-date information. More information is available at the Immigration Department website.

Alternatively, you may consider hiring part-time local domestic helper, which is usually paid on an hourly basis. Details can be checked out at GovHK.

Once you are employed, you will be chargeable to salaries tax on your income arising in or derived from Hong Kong from any employment, office, and pension. If you receive a “Tax Return-Individuals” from the Inland Revenue Department (IRD), you must complete and submit it by the due date for filing even if you have no income that can be charged to salaries tax. It is the employee’s obligation to pay the tax at the specified time after you receive your notice of assessment. If you do not receive a “Tax Return-Individuals”, you should notify the IRD that your income could be chargeable to tax. More details can be found at theInland Revenue Department website.

The Finance and Enterprises Office (FEO) of the University will file the Employer’s Return of Remuneration and pensions (Annual Tax Return) to IRD on staff members’ earnings after the end of the year of assessment (which runs from April 1 of the previous year to March 31 of the current year).

In order to assist you to complete your “Tax Return-Individuals”, a copy of the Annual Tax Return will be made available on your HKU Portal. You may view or print your Annual Tax Return via “Self Service > Finance & Enterprises Office > Annual Tax Return”. An announcement will be made by the FEO when the Annual Tax Return is ready on your HKU Portal, usually at the end of April. Enquiries on Annual Tax Return can be directed to the FEO by e-mail to feo-payroll@hku.hk.

An appointee on fixed-term or temporary contract who is aged between 18 and 65 must enroll in the University’s Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) Scheme, unless he/she is an exempt person and complete the appropriate Declaration Form for Exemption from Mandatory Provident Fund. The University will make mandatory contributions in accordance with the MPF Schemes Ordinance in respect of the appointee and in relation to the period of employment under the contract. 

Expatriates who are holding employment visa and, who are working for less than 13 months or who are members of a retirement scheme outside Hong Kong may apply for exemption from MPF by completing the appropriate Declaration Form, which should be returned to the Personnel Unit of the Human Resource Section for processing. Details are distributed to appointees together with their Letters of Appointment.

Employment Visa

If you do not have the right of abode or right to land in Hong Kong, you are required to obtain an employment visa before coming to Hong Kong to take up your appointment. You may also need to apply for dependant or student visas, as appropriate, in respect of your dependants, if any. The University will be the sponsor of your employment visa application and you will be the sponsor of your dependants.

Under the existing immigration policy, even if a person has obtained an employment visa to work in Hong Kong, he/she is only permitted to take up employment with the sponsoring organization as specified and cannot take up other employment without having obtained the prior permission from the Director of Immigration. Therefore, you are required to make an application to the Director of Immigration as soon as possible if you are holding an employment visa sponsored by another organization, and let the Appointments Unit of the Human Resource Section have a copy of the formal endorsement once it is available and before you assume duty.

As the Hong Kong Immigration Department normally takes about two months for processing a visa application, you are advised to send the appropriate visa application form(s) to the Appointments Unit of the Human Resource Section for onward transmission to the Immigration Department as soon as possible and well in advance of your intended date of travel to Hong Kong, together with supplementary documents. If the employment visa is not issued in time, you should not come to Hong Kong on the more easily obtainable tourist visa or by taking advantage of visa-free entry as a visitor. It is important to note that failure to obtain an employment visa means that your contract of employment will be invalidated, and accordingly you will not be permitted to work in Hong Kong. Please also note that the visa fee should be borne by the applicant in normal circumstances and the visa label(s) will be sent to you by registered mail once ready. Please be reminded to attach your visa label in your passport and show it to the Immigration Office at the customs upon your arrival in Hong Kong, and send a copy of your employment visa, via your Department, on your date of assumption of duty to the Human Resource Section for formal record. 

Dependant Visa

If you are holding a dependant visa (except that there is ‘condition of stay’ stated in your visa), you may take up employment in Hong Kong without seeking prior permission from the Immigration Department. Further information on dependant visa is available at the website of the Immigration Department.

Residence Visa

Individuals who do not have the right of abode or right of land in Hong Kong may enter or stay in Hong Kong without securing an offer of local employment via the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme. Those who have obtained a degree or higher qualification in a full-time and locally-accredited programme in Hong Kong (non-local graduates) may apply to stay/return and work in Hong Kong under the Immigration Arrangements for Non-local Graduates (IANG).

For more updated information about Immigration Policy on Employment in Hong Kong, please refer to the Immigration Department website.

Under the Registration of Persons Ordinance, all Hong Kong residents aged 11 or over (including those who have been permitted to stay in Hong Kong for more than 180 days) are required to register for a Hong Kong Identity Card (HKID), except those who are exempted or excluded. Overseas appointees must apply for a HKID within 30 days of arrival. The Immigration Ordinance requires Hong Kong residents to carry proof of identity, at least when in public places, in the form of a HKID, or a valid travel document such as a passport. Failure to comply with the requirement may lead to a fine. 

To apply for a HKID, you are advised to make prior appointment on-line or by phone at 2598 0888. Application must be submitted in person at a Registration of Persons Office. Detailed information is available at the website of the Hong Kong Immigration Department.