Overseas employment

For many Hong Kong professionals, overseas employment is a personal career goal. Along with opportunities to experience a new culture, adding international work experience to your resume, such an experience can provide lasting career benefits as it demonstrates depth of experience and a global outlook. 

Overseas employment calls for plenty of planning

The opportunity to work overseas brings with it the need for good planning. There is plenty to organise – from meeting visa requirements and work permits to making contact with overseas employers or recruitment agencies.

Narrowing down your destination

The global workplace can seem to offer unlimited job opportunities. But when it comes to overseas employment, it pays to narrow down your destination based on what will serve your career best over the long term.

If you’re keen to use overseas employment to enhance your professional experience, it can be worth focusing on countries where your skills and qualifications can be put to best use. Hong Kong’s universities are well-regarded internationally , and many professional bodies in Hong Kong have affiliate organisations across the globe. This means qualifications you have gained in Hong Kong will often be valid for work overseas. 

Visa requirements for working overseas

If you have your heart set on overseas employment, you need to be aware of the relevant visa requirements and any conditions foreigners must meet in order to work in the country.

The HKSAR government does not provide visas for overseas travel. For up to date information and to apply for a visa, you will need to contact the consulate of the country you intend to work in. A large number of consulates have a presence in Hong Kong.

Be sure to arrange your visa and work permits well in advance of your planned departure date as these documents can take time to arrange.

Understand the financial impact

Overseas employment is very exciting but don’t overlook the financial realities. Some countries are more affordable than Hong Kong meaning it can be lucrative to work there. Other nations have a higher cost of living and you could find that living and working overseas leaves you financially stretched, especially if you land a job that doesn’t have the same level of responsibility or seniority as your role in Hong Kong.

Some background research can let you know what you’re likely to face in terms of living costs and average wages/salaries while overseas. Pay particular attention to basic expenses like rent, which can be very high in destinations that are popular among expatriate workers. 

Unless you have a job lined up before you leave Hong Kong, it’s a smart move to save a decent pool of savings to tide you over until you secure employment in your destination country.  

Be job ready

Checking job boards in other countries will show you the types of jobs available for professionals in the destination of your choice and highlight any possible gaps in your experience or skill set that could be worth addressing before you leave. 

Be sure to pack hard copies of your resume, references and any professional certificates, or scan these documents and save the files to a cloud storage so you can work on them from anywhere in the world. Remember, even when you’re travelling, it pays to tailor job applications to individual roles.

How to find work abroad

There are a number of ways to achieve your goal to work overseas, and it’s worth exploring every avenue.

If you currently work for a multinational company, it can be worth requesting an overseas transfer or secondment. Or, if your organisation has plans to establish a global footprint, consider putting your name forward to be part of an overseas team. A key advantages here is that the company will often arrange (and pay for) the necessary visas and work permits on your behalf. 

Another option is to register with a global recruitment company. As a global company, Robert Half has 345 offices across the Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, North America and South American markets. This can help you connect with employers all over the world - and by making contact with an overseas recruitment specialist, you will have a better idea of the steps you need to take to secure overseas employment.

Visit our various country websites to see the jobs currently available in other countries:

Take a look at our find a job hub for more job search tips and advice.