1 year Working Holiday Visa for Hong Kong
The Hong Kong Working Holiday Visa allows Irish citizens to have an extended holiday for up to 12 months in Hong Kong supplemented by casual employment.
Programme fee only €399
- 1 Year Working Holiday Visa Processing
- 2 Nights Accommodation in Hong Kong
- Arrival Transfer
Request access to the Hong Kong Jobs database!
"I am a journalist and a designer who has just embarked on the USIT 1 Year Working Holiday Visa for Hong Kong. I began working on a freelance basis for a major publication in Hong Kong and after a few months I was offered a full time position and the ability to transfer to a residency visa. This USIT Programme, serves as a great springboard to further your career in a foreign country and I would highly recommend looking into it."
Diarmuid, Co. Tipperary
Now in Hong Kong
"My thanks to Usit in Cork who arranged my Work Hong Kong Programme. Having the 1 Year work visa opened so many doors for me and enabled me to easily find a job teaching in a local Hong Kong school which ultimately led to a fruitful and unforgettable experience. I enjoyed every part of my time in Hong Kong and would highly recommend this programme to anyone thinking of expanding their career outside of Ireland."
Jonathan, Co. Cork
Now in Hong Kong
To be eligible for an Hong Kong 1 Year Working Holiday Visa you must fit the following criteria:
- You must be aged between 18 and 30 (inclusive) when you apply for your Visa.
- You must hold a passport from Ireland and ordinarily resident in Ireland
- Your passport must be valid for the entire period of your stay in Hong Kong.
- You must be able to produce financial proof of funds of (HK$20,000) to support yourself during your stay in Hong Kong. Eg Bank statement
- You must be in possession of a return flight ticket or show financial proof to be able to purchase a return flight.
- You must have comprehensive insurance for your stay in Hong Kong.
Living & Working In Hong Kong
Welcome to a dazzling city of bright lights and relentless energy, from towering skyscrapers to old-style traditional Chinese neighbourhoods, the city is a perfect example of where Eastern culture meets the West.
Voted the "world's most-livable city" in 2012 by The Economist magazine, Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated countries in the world with a population of over 7.1 million people in an area of 1,100 square kilometres. Imagine something like the population of Ireland crammed and stacked into County Dublin, and you get the idea.
Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China, is made up of three geographical areas: Hong Kong Island, Kowloon Peninsula and the New Territories. Hong Kong Island is a bustling international business city, famous for its dim sum, shopping and fast pace of life. Kowloon, an urban area opposite the island, is full of markets, temples and crumbling tenement blocks. Beyond Kowloon lies the New Territories, a rural and scenic terrain of villages, beaches and heritage sites that border with mainland China.
What to see. On the island, for starters, take a tram to Victoria Peak to see the panoramic view of the city, Victoria Harbour and the backdrop of sprawling mountains. Then take the Star Ferry from Central on the island to the Avenue of Stars to see the Hong Kong skyline from the water. There's a light show here nightly. If it's a Wednesday night, the urban racecourse in Happy Valley is well worth checking out, even if gambling isn't your thing. Hiking across Dragon's Back and down onto Shek O beach is another Hong Kong classic.
Eating out. You are spoilt for choice with restaurants, bars and cafes in Hong Kong. The street food is not to be missed at reasonable prices. Dim Sum - bite sized food for sharing over tea, like Chinese tapas - is a popular option for late breakfast or lunch. Generally served on trolleys, with a large assortment to choose from, Maxim's Palace in Central and Tim Ho Wan in Mong Kok are good examples of where to go.
Going out. For nights out, the bars and clubs in Hong Kong often come in dense clusters. The most popular party area on the island is Lan Kwai Fong, or L.K.F. as it is known. Busy throughout the week, but a giant street party on the weekends, the narrow L-shaped walkway consists of a wealth of bars and clubs popular with tourists, expats and locals alike.
You can also try going out in the Wan Chai area, but be warned that it can be a bit seedy. An exception is the Irish bar Delaney's in Wan Chai, a great place to watch the GAA, rugby and football and to hear some familiar accents.
If you're looking for somewhere with a more local vibe, try bar hopping on the Kowloon side in Tsim Sha Tsui. The neighborhood has a lot of cool, trendy bars that are a bit cheaper than on Hong Kong Island.
Living in Hong Kong
Finding accommodation. Searching for a place to live in Hong Kong can be a challenge. as space is at a premium here. It's wise to have an idea of the general area you would like to settle in first. Visiting individual real estate offices in your chosen area is an efficient way to find a place. If you go this route, though, keep in mind that a real estate agent requires a commission of 50% the price of one month's rent.
Different neighbourhoods. If you would like to be in a lively expat area, head for mid-levels in Central or Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon, but be advised that living on Hong Kong Island is generally a pricier option, with areas in Sheung Wan, Central and Soho being among the most expensive. A one-bedroom apartment in one of the more central areas, like Causeway Bay or Wan Chai, could cost you around 15,000 HKD (€1,500) per month. If you're looking to share an apartment, though, it will generally cost you about 7,000 - 9,000 HKD/month, or €700-€900 per month.
Remember, though, that the price you are quoted by the real estate agent or landlord is always negotiable. You can generally get at least €80 per month off of the quoted rent price. For saving some cash, Lamma Island and the New Territories offer cheaper accommodation, with the only downside being the commute (by ferry in Lamma's case) and not-as-frequent transportation at night.
Getting set up - Things to know
Public transport. With an efficient and reliable public transport system, it is a fast and inexpensive city to get around. The quick rail system, the MTR - Mass Transit Railway - covers all major districts in the territory. Consisting of ten rail lines, you never have to wait long to catch the next train. It's important to note that the MTR finishes around midnight each night, although buses and taxis are really cheap and are also in abundance here. A typical cab fare is less than €7. There is also an old-style tram that runs across Hong Kong Island.
Important cards. Two essential items to pick up are an Octopus card and a Hong Kong ID. The Octopus card is an item that every resident carries with them, used for traveling and for making electronic payments. Similar to Dublin's Leap card, an advantage of the Octopus card is that you can also use it for making purchases at various supermarkets, stores, coffee shops and vending machines. The Hong Kong ID card should be applied for soon after arriving. Providing you with a unique identity number, you will need to apply for the card at the Immigration Department in Wan Chai. You will require the ID card for such things as starting work and opening a bank account.
Set up a bank account. Unfortunately, most banks here require you to be in employment before you can open an account. It is standard to present a letter with a company stamp (or "chop," as it is known) from your employer, your HK ID card and proof of address when getting set up. So it's best to make sure you come with an Irish credit card and all the details to wire cash from your Irish account. "Frontloading" your credit card with enough cash to set you up is always a good idea. You may also want to get a family member back in Ireland added to your Irish bank account so that they can wire you money in case you need it.
How to find a job in Hong Kong
When moving abroad, the most important thing to remember is to start applying as soon as possible. With this visa, you can only work for each Employer for three months at a time, so before leaving Ireland, email and attach as many CVs to prospective companies as you can. A lot of times Employers can be slow at getting back to you, so it's best if you better your odds. And who knows, you might hear back from a job a couple months down the line, and be ready for your next three-month gig.
I found my job online after extensive research and scouring job listings for the first few weeks after I arrived. After a couple of interviews, I was hired on a freelance basis with a major publication in Hong Kong. A few months later, I was offered a full-time position and was able to transfer to a residency visa. This USIT visa, therefore, serves as a good springboard to further your career in a foreign country.
- Job listings. Sign up for mailing lists that will email you daily updates of upcoming positions in your field in the Hong Kong area.
- Language. Try not to be discouraged when a lot of job listings state "candidate must speak Chinese and English." English is widely spoken in Hong Kong, and it is not necessary to speak Cantonese, although learning some basic phrases will help. And you never know, they may still want you.
- The Library. Hong Kongers love to sit in coffee shops for hours, which can make it a bit hard sometimes to find a chair, let alone a table. So if you're looking for some peace and quiet (and free WiFi) to do some obsessive job-searching, head to The Hong Kong Central Library. Located in Tin Hau, the impressive 12-storey building is the main library in Hong Kong and has desks, couches, computers and work kiosks on almost every floor and a cafe on the ground floor.
- Compile a list. Depending on what field you want to work in, make a list of all the companies in Hong Kong that you would like to work for. If you want to work as a designer at a magazine, let's say, you first want to compile all of the English-language magazines in the city and then email the art director at each publication. After you send the email, cross it off the list. They may not have an opening, but they may just point you in the direction of someone who is hiring.
- Create a website/blog. It's a great way to get your name out there and for someone hiring in Hong Kong to visualize who you are from afar.
- Get a business card. Try to make one before you leave. Most professionals in Hong Kong carry a card with them, so once you're here, start handing them out freely.
All in all, getting your foot in the door is the trickiest part. Just remember that the expat scene in Hong Kong is small (about 95 percent locals, 5 percent foreigners), so once you land that first job, you can keep an eye out for more openings and start networking. The recession hasn't hit Hong Kong like it has Ireland, but it is expensive, on par with New York City. For expats, Hong Kong is mostly a professional scene and a great place to further your career, whatever field you're in, whether it's in teaching, journalism or business.
A useful website with forums, classifieds, job and accommodation listings. Handy for asking HK-related queries on their message boards, and especially good for buying and selling appliances, furniture etc.
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Terms and Conditions
This programme is intended to be used for participants on the Hong Kong Working Holiday Visa.
The arrivals programme includes:
- Visa Processing Assistance
- 2 Night's Accommodation in Hong Kong
- Airport Pick Up upon arrival in Hong Kong
The Programme does not include the administration cost for the Hong Kong Immigration Department - upon arrival to Hong Kong participants need to appear before the Hong Kong Immigration Department and pay an admin fee of 160HKD (€16) in order to get the visa stamped into their passport.
By participating on this programme, participants MUST book their flights and Insurance for Hong Kong through USIT.
The Working Holiday visa can take up to 6 weeks to be approved but once approved the participant has 3 months to enter Hong Kong and activate the Visa.
All participants on this programme must ensure they carry the relevant vouchers for their airport pick-up and hotel stay when travelling, These will be issued and given to the participant by USIT once the flight details have been confirmed. After this it is the responsibility of the participant to ensure they carry the vouchers.
Terms & Conditions apply, flights must be booked with USIT. Valid for Irish passport holders only!