Contract in Hong Kong

Contracting in Hong Kong - FAQ

What is the monthly cost of using an Umbrella Company in Hong Kong? 

5% with a minimum of $450 USD per month.


How long does it take to get a work permit in Hong Kong?

3 to 4 weeks.

What is the estimated net retention in Hong Kong for a contractor earning USD 500 per day?

*update pending

What is the estimated net retention in Hong Kong for a contractor earning USD 1000 per day?

Around 83 - 84%.

*doesn’t include fee for work permit or other immigration costs

More questions? See the rest of the FAQ for more information on the Hong Kong work permit process

Getting Started

Taking a contract in Hong Kong means tackling numerous administrative headaches. Before you even begin working as an independent contractor, there are complicated payroll, tax, and immigration issues to work out.

All this complex admin comes on top of any personal matters you need to sort, as well. Even worse, it can be a huge nuisance when you’re already in Hong Kong, trying to adjust to a huge relocation – and a new contract!

Streamlining even a few of these obstacles can dramatically improve your experience.

Luckily, there are ways to simplify more than just a few…

Freelance Hong Kong Requirements


One of your first hurdles will be securing the proper work permit. To get one, you usually need an employer to sponsor you. This means they take full responsibility for you while you’re working in the country.

That’s fine for full-time employees, but what about independent contractors?

Many clients won’t offer sponsorship for a temporary worker and, even if they do, you’ll need to apply for a new permit for each new contract. This creates a mountain of paperwork each time you want to work with a new client.


Additionally, you need to figure out what you owe (if anything) in taxes for your work in Hong Kong.

Of course, there’s also your country of tax residency; you’re likely to owe something on that front, too.

You can take advantage of certain tax structures, but doing so requires a strong familiarity with expat tax law in Hong Kong.

Benefits of working through an Umbrella Company in Hong Kong

You can outsource a lot of these admin problems to specialists at an Umbrella Company (or contractor management company).

An Umbrella Company basically becomes your full-time “employer,” even though you stay in control of your workload, clients, and schedule. The Umbrella Company simply collects and processes your payments, filtering out social security and any necessary fees.

They can also sponsor your work permit, meaning you get to take on new clients without the aggravation of applying for a new permit each time.

Even better, most specialise in tax law for contractors in Hong Kong and can ensure you’re keeping the largest amount of your earnings as possible. They can even assist you with reducing your tax liability back home.

In short, you get all the benefits of a working for an employer, without sacrificing your autonomy as a contractor.

How to get started with the right Umbrella Company

There’s a lot of Umbrella Companies out there; finding the right one for you can be daunting.

We’ve done the research on Umbrella Companies in Hong Kong, and know how to match contractors with the perfect company. If you’ve already secured a contract, get in touch with us and let us know your situation. We can get you started with the best Umbrella Company for you, or simply offer feedback on contracting in Hong Kong.

Oh, and we don’t charge anything. Drop us a line and get free, honest, simple advice.

Send your details for more information

Additional FAQ - work permits & payroll


What is the cost of a Work Permit in Hong Kong?

$500 USD.

What documentation is required for a work permit in Hong Kong?

Copy of the candidates passport, passport photos, copies of degree/diploma certificates, contract.

What is the work permit process in Hong Kong?

Candidate provides company sponsoring the visa with the requisite documentation (passport photos, contracts, certifications, copy of their passport etc), sponsor lodges the application in HK and once approved sends the Work Permit to the candidate and it is then validated at the HK Consulate in the candidates home country.

Can you transfer from a business visa to a work permit in Hong Kong?

Depends on your nationality.

Can we organise a business visa for Hong Kong?


How long does it take to process a business visa in Hong Kong?

2 to 3 days.

How much does a business visa cost in Hong Kong?

$250 USD.


Can nationals of certain countries enter Hong Kong without a business visa (ex. on an entry visa or visa waiver)?


Yes. Nationals of about 170 countries and territories may visit Hong Kong visa-free for a period ranging from 7 days to 180 days.



$4000 USD per month.


How does payroll work in Hong Kong?


Your employer (the company sponsoring your visa) pays the candidate on a monthly basis. They deduct social security  - which is 5% for employers and 5% for employees. They also deduct income tax - which is progressive and varies from 2-17% pendant on salary level. These deductions are made at source and paid to the Hong Kong tax authorities. Candidates are able to offset their taxable income with relevant business expenses. The World Bank estimates it takes employers in Hong Kong 50 man days to ensure compliance with payroll and labour taxes each year.