Travellers on tourist visas are barred from accepting employment in Hong Kong. It is possible to obtain work ‘under the table’, but there are stiff penalties for employers who are caught hiring foreigners illegally. Still, to earn extra money many foreigners end up teaching English or doing some other kind of work – translating, modelling, acting in Chinese films, waiting on tables or bartending. Few – if any – restaurants or bars will take the risk and hire you if you don’t have a Hong Kong ID card these days.
For professional jobs, registering with Hong Kong personnel agencies or head-hunters is important; check out Jobs DB (www.jobsdb.com/hk). Drake International (2848 9288; www.drakeintl.com; 19th fl, Chekiang First Bank Centre, 1 Duddell St, Central) is an international employment agency that often advertises work in Hong Kong. You can always check the classified advertisements in the local English-language newspapers. The Thursday and Saturday editions of the South China Morning Post or the Friday edition of the Hong Kong Standard are particularly helpful. HK Magazine also has a jobs section.
Recruit and Jiu Jik are free job-seeker tabloids available on Wednesdays and Fridays at the majority of MTR stations. There are also the Job Market Weekly and Career Times, for sale at most newsagents.
Hong Kong is not all about business, but it remains an important aspect of its ethos and character. Some useful business contacts:
American Chamber of Commerce (2530 6900; www.amcham.org.hk; Room 1904, 19th fl, Bank of America Tower, 12 Harcourt Rd, Central) The most active overseas chamber of commerce in Hong Kong.
Chinese General Chamber of Commerce (2525 6385; www.cgcc.org.hk; 4th fl, Chinese General Chamber of Commerce Bldg, 24-25 Connaught Rd, Central) Authorised to issue Certificates of Hong Kong origin for trade.
Chinese Manufacturers’ Association of Hong Kong (2545 6166; www.cma.org.hk; 3rd fl, CMA Bldg, 64-66 Connaught Rd, Central) Operates testing laboratories for product certification and can also issue Certificates of Hong Kong origin.
Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (2529 9229; www.chamber.org.hk; 22nd fl, United Centre, 95 Queensway, Admiralty) Services for foreign executives and firms, such as translation, serviced offices, secretarial help and printing.
Hong Kong Labour Department (2717 1771; www.labour.gov.hk; 16th fl, Harbour Bldg, 38 Pier Rd, Central) Contact this department for labour-relations problems and queries.
Hong Kong Trade & Industry Department (2392 2922; www.tid.gov.hk; Room 908, 700 Nathan Rd, Trade & Industry Department Tower, Mong Kok) This department is a key source for trade information, statistics, government regulations and product certification (enter from Fife St).
Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC; 1830 668; www.tdctrade.com; 38th fl, Office Tower, Convention Plaza, 1 Harbour Rd, Wan Chai) Cosponsors and participates in trade fairs, and publishes a wealth of material on Hong Kong markets.
TDC Business InfoCentre (2248 4000; infocentre.tdctrade.com; New Wing, Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, 1 Expo Dr, Wan Chai; 10am-7pm Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm Sat) Run by the HKTDC, the centre is well stocked with relevant books, periodicals and reference materials.
Office hours in Hong Kong are from 9am to either 5.30pm or 6pm on weekdays and often (but increasingly less so) from 9am to noon or 1pm on Saturday. The weekday lunch hour is usually from 1pm to 2pm. Banks are open from 9am to 4.30pm or 5.30pm weekdays and 9am to 12.30pm on Saturday.
Shops that cater to tourists keep longer hours, but almost nothing opens before 9am. As a rule of thumb, assume a place will be open from 10am to 7pm daily.
Museums are generally open from 10am to between 5pm and 9pm and are closed one day a week (usually Monday, Tuesday or Thursday).
Restaurants are open from noon to 3pm; dinner is usually from 6pm to 11pm.
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