The basics
Hong Kong: Career Prospects

Finding a graduate career in Hong Kong

Learn how you can kick-start your graduate career in Hong Kong including how your university can help you find a graduate job....

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A key global hub of finance, trade, international relations and culture, thousands of  graduates seek out job prospects in Hong Kong each year. Between the city’s unique ties to China and its roaring service sector, there are plenty of opportunities for international students to stay on after finishing their studies and embark on their careers. Thinking of studying abroad in Hong Kong, but aren’t sure what to expect when you graduate? Let our guide to finding a career in Hong Kong help illuminate your options.


Can I stay in Hong Kong?

To remain in Hong Kong and work after you finish your studies, you will need to apply to the Immigration Department to be considered under the Immigration Arrangements for Non-Local Graduates (IANG).  If you submit an application within six months of graduating, you are considered a ‘non-local fresh graduate,’ and will NOT need to already have secured employment at the time you apply.   You will be allowed to stay in Hong Kong for up to 12 months under this scheme.

If you apply over six months after graduating, even if you are no longer in Hong Kong you will be considered a ‘non-local graduate’. In this case, you WILL need to have been offered employment in Hong Kong before you apply. The job needs to be one at an appropriate graduate level, with remuneration set at market level. No matter how many times you enter or leave Hong Kong within the course of your life, if you hold a Hong Kong degree qualification  you may apply to be considered under IANG as many times as you like.

To apply, you will need to complete the Form ID 990A and gather other required documents and post them directly to the Immigration Department office. You can check the specific application guidelines and advice on this page.

After you complete your study programme, you will have four weeks to leave Hong Kong. You can apply to be considered for IANG from your home country, or apply within these four weeks. You can also apply for IANG just before you graduate. To do this, you will need to apply to your host university for a Letter of Certification, and include it as a supporting document in your application to the Immigration Department.


What’s the graduate job market like?

Economy in the East is booming. Hong Kong may be the smallest of the ‘Asian Tigers,’ but more than holds its own. Playing a prolific role in maintaining the Chinese economy and boasting an unemployment rate of just 3.4%, thousands of students head to Hong Kong in search of better career prospects each year.

Home to one of the world’s freest economies, Hong Kong is a key financial and international centre of trade. Graduates in fields of Finance, Banking, and IT are particularly in demand, whilst skills and knowledge in areas of Law and Accounting are strongly favoured. Whilst the job market is widely accessible to English speakers, candidates who also speak or understand Cantonese, even on a basic conversational basis, will have an advantage. Mandarin is only used in some business communication, but may also be useful knowledge depending on your area of expertise.

There are offices of numerous multinational corporations in Hong Kong that make the search and application process easier for graduates who have moved back to their home country. It can also be easier to apply to a company you’re somewhat familiar with.

Hong Kong has an incredibly strong service sector that currently accounts for more than 90% of the GDP, and is only set to grow. Graduates of Accounting and Finance, Architecture and Urban Planning, Banking, Healthcare and Life Science, Management and Human Resources, ICT and International Law will enjoy a particularly broad range of employment opportunities.


How can I find a job?

You can search for a job in any way that a local graduate might: job boards, newspaper vacancies, through connections made at career fairs. Often, your university will run some kind of student service that will be able to point you in the right direction, or put you directly in touch with an employer.

You will improve your chances of finding a job substantially if you get to know the sector you’re looking to enter before you start applying. Publications such as the Wall Street Journal Asia, South China Morning Post and the Standard will help you brush up on the current state of affairs, as well as provide specific insight into business, finance and economics news. You can read up on specific industry statistics on the HK Economy page of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) website.  You can also search for a job online using search engines such as Monster HK  or jobsDB.

If you are enrolled at an accredited Hong Kong institution and your study programme is longer than one academic year, sometimes you will be able to complete an internship as part of your curriculum. Whilst these programmes are not intended to result in long-term employment, you will be exposed to professional networks and can work at building contacts that might be able to help you further down the track.


Can my university help?

In almost all cases your host university will definitely be able to help you in some way. Whether it’s through a placement service, job board or by giving you a recommendation, you should try to take advantage of all the resources available to you as best you can.

For example, the University of Hong Kong (HKU) runs CEDARS, a career placement service available to all HKU students. Students may search for a job, read employment statistics of HKU graduates by sector, get career preparation and planning advice and get information about careers talks and events.

Hong Kong Polytechnic University requires all Undergraduate students to complete a mandatory Work-Integrated Education (WIE) placement programme as part of their curriculum. Students can take this opportunity to gain valuable industry experience, identify job opportunities and establish professional relationships that may be of use to them later.



Now that you’ve got a better idea of what will happen when you graduate, why not browse courses in Hong Kong now and start planning your study abroad adventure?



Useful Links

'Post-study visa options in Hong Kong'

'3 Fields to study in Hong Kong'

'Cultural misconceptions about Hong Kong'

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About Author

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Monica Karpinski received her BA (Media and Communications) and Diploma in Modern Languages (French) from the University of Melbourne, Australia. An art and culture aficionado, in her spare time Monica enjoys film, reading and writing about art.