Hong Kong attracts plenty of graduates that wish to commence internships and create a good foundation for future employment. The city is well-known for offering many opportunities in terms of professional development and networking.
Before you start looking for internships in Hong Kong, I recommend that you get your feet wet first, learning about the benefits, how you can find internships, and about the visa regulations, for example.
This is something that I will cover in greater detail in this article, along with many other topics. Let’s get started.
Benefits of commencing an internship in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of the most important financial centers in the world. International companies have long seen Hong Kong as the best city to set foot when expanding to the Asian market, thanks to low taxes, a transparent business system, and an English-speaking population.
For a better overview of the benefits, I created a summary below with the main points.
International market: Hong Kong is the home to around 7 million people and is considered multicultural with expats and students from every corner of the world. By living and working in an international context like Hong Kong’s helps you to discover new cultures, learning how to work in a heterogeneous work environment.
Many options: Hong Kong is the home to thousands of companies, including top-flight firms like Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Citi, Bank of America, and plentiful insurance companies. Even if the competition might be tough, there are generally many options available.
Opportunities to learn Mandarin: Hong Kong might not be the best place to learn Mandarin, compared to the mainland. However, it brings the opportunity to both improve your English and Mandarin skills, if you’re not a native speaker in either of the languages.
Scout the job market parallelly: By commencing an internship in Hong Kong, you also have the opportunity to get permanent employment once finished, or look for other jobs in the meantime. Many students and foreigners do their utmost to land jobs in Hong Kong thanks to the high salaries, low taxes, and high quality of life.
Bustling and energetic: Hong Kong is the top choice among many foreigners who look for jobs overseas and in Asia. It’s famous for its sparkling and shiny skyscrapers, bustling nightlife, many islands, nature, and countless restaurants and bars. You’ll never really get bored here due to the many social activities!
How to find an internship in Hong Kong
Finding internships in Hong Kong is not that hard if you plan well in advance and dedicate a sufficient amount of time for the search. Besides, you have to assure that you meet the visa requirements and capable of traveling there.
With that said, the quality of the internships as well as the application process can be lengthy. This can be resolved by getting help from a third party, even if this comes at a cost. Below I have listed three common options that students and graduates use when looking for internships.
1. Looking on your own
The first option is to look for internships on your own, this can easily be done online on websites that are solely focusing on internships, or general job searching websites, like Glassdoor.
This is free, of course, and you only have to spend your time. It can be time-consuming to search for jobs on your own and without the help of an agency (which can be compared to a recruitment agency, at least partly). Updating CVs and writing cover letters is not only challenging for many young professionals but also time-consuming.
With that said, I do recommend you to look for internships on your own, something that you can do in parallel to other activities.
Your school might be able to help you find fellowships, which are similar to internships. However, while internships are primarily to accumulate professional experience, fellowships are for professional development. These can last for everything from weeks to several years.
Graduates and students sometimes get paid to do fellowships through scholarships. Internships, on the other hand, are generally paid by the hour and/or monthly.
For more information, I recommend you contact your university to see if they have more information.
3. Getting help from an agency
Some graduates and students decide to go a step further and seek help from an agency when looking for internships. In exchange for a fee, the agencies can review your CV, help you arrange the trip to Hong Kong, connect you with companies, and more.
I will cover this option later in this article, with more details about the pricing and expectations.
Visa requirements for internships in Hong Kong
The general requirements to get a visa for internships in Hong Kong are:
- The applicant must be at least 18 years old
- The validity of your passport must be at least 12 months
- Passport holders from Afghanistan, Cuba, Laos, North Korea or Nepal cannot receive the visa
- The applicant must prove sufficient, personal financial standing (~ HKD 25,000 or equivalent) when applying for the visa
The visa you will apply for is a so-called Training Visa. The documents should be sent to Hong Kong’s immigration, but this can also be handled by an agency. For example, the Intern Group is one company that helps with this.
It typically takes 3 to 4 weeks to process the application, which is done at Immigration. The visa is valid for a period of 3 months and you’re allowed to leave and come back (multiple entries). The visa has the same validity as your program duration.
Keep in mind that regulations can change, it’s important that you check the latest updates on the Hong Kong Immigration’s website prior to submitting your application.
Doing an internship with an agency
As mentioned, a popular option is to ask the help of an agency that can help you find companies and with the applications. This will relieve you plenty of work as well as save you time with professionals managing the process on your behalf. At least large parts of it.
Here you will find the different types of services and packages that agencies typically offer to manage the Hong Kong internship search and application process. As you can see, the price may vary depending on the services included and the duration of the internships.
Placement packages typically include the following:
- Customized internship placement
- Visa assistance
- 24/7 Assistance
- Certification from host company
- Welcome pack
At an indicative level, the price of these types of packages are usually the following:
- 1-3 months: 2,000 USD
- 4-6 months: 2,300 USD
Apart from the services included in the placement packages, the standard packages usually also include the following services:
- Furnished accommodation
- Airport pick up on arrival
- Domestic SIM card
- Transportation cards
- Social activities and trips
As a guideline, the costs of this type of package are as follows:
- 1 month: 4,900 USD
- 2 months: 6,400 USD
- 3 months: 7,900 USD
- 4 months: 9,300 USD
- 5 months: 11,000 USD
- 6 months: 13,000 USD
Agencies that offer internships often also offer other helpful services to ease the transition to your destination:
- Language and culture courses
- Exclusive networking events
- Social activities and cultural immersion
- Tours and excursions
- International medical insurance
- Multi-destination work practices
Websites for internships in Hong Kong
There are many websites available, some focus on both internships and permanent positions, while some focus only on internships. Below I have listed some of the most popular options available and that you should have a look at:
- Absolute Internship
- The Hong Kong Internship Platform: THE HKIP
- The Intern Group
- Go Abroad
Absolute Internship, for instance, is a leading platform and service provider that can help you find internships in places like Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing, and Shanghai. The company has helped more than 5,000 students and graduates with internships, collaborating with more than 800 companies.
The company has been mentioned in numerous newspapers and offers end-to-end solutions at a fee. For more information, I recommend you watch each website to learn more about their services, fees, and coverage.
Get a free quotation for an internship in Hong Kong
Fill in the form below and get in touch with an agency that can provide a free quotation for an internship in Hong Kong. They will get back to you by email as soon as possible.
[Photo Credits (Creative Commons CC0): Pixabay.com]