Hong Kong Hotels

Teaching English in Hong Kong

This page is maintained by cheesindave, one of our forum members.

Although English is an official language in Hong Kong, demand for native English speaking teachers is high. When compared to teaching jobs elsewhere in Asia, wages are favourable and you should be looking at a minimum of HK$17,000.

There are various options for native English teachers in Hong Kong. The most popular being the Education Bureau's NET scheme, where teachers would be working in either primary or secondary schools. Teachers working on the NET scheme receive a generous salary plus a housing/living allowance and performance bonuses. Further details of the NET scheme can be found here: http://www.edb.gov.hk/

There are also a large number of international schools in Hong Kong, who generally offer higher salaries and more attractive working conditions. Although international schools usually only employ qualified teachers who have PDGE or equivalent.

Another option is private language centres, which do vary greatly in quality. Whilst many centres are reputable, offering good packages, some are purely profit driven and are very small companies. Most language centres cater mainly to children, with ages ranging from 2 years to 18 years old, some language centres do offer adult language training, in English but this is not as commonplace as it once was.

There have been numerous reports of teachers being tricked into illegal employment by small unscrupulous language centres, who ask teachers to commence employment on a visitor's visa whilst their employment visa is being processed. Some teachers have claimed not to have received their salaries and later discovered that employment visas had not been applied for. Be aware that HK Immigration do have very strict rules on employment, if caught working illegally both the employer and employee would face a custodial sentence and deportation. The best way to avoid such scams is to ensure you do not commence work until you have obtained the appropriate visa and HKID.

As the one of the dominant languages in Hong Kong's business arena is English, adults often wish to advance their English skills to push forward their career prospects. Also, parents encourage their children to become bilingual from an early age to give them more opportunities in life. There is also a large community of Japanese and Korean expats, who often wish to study general and business English.

The biggest obstacle facing new English teachers in Hong Kong is obtaining a valid employment visa. As a rule of thumb generally if a company/establishment is offering a salary below HK$17,000, then it is unlikely that HK immigration would grant an employment visa. To satisfy HK immigration that your teaching skills would be beneficial to Hong Kong, a university degree is usually a pre-requisite along with a TEFL/TESOL certificate and some experience in teaching English as a foreign language. Although it is possible to obtain employment visas when offered slightly lower salaries or have lower qualifications, it is certainly not the norm.

Employers in Hong Kong will invariably do things by the book and you won't get work if your papers are not in order (unlike some Southeast Asian countries). The Hong Kong government website has well presented information about this (see links section). If you're not in Hong Kong already, check out the online versions of Hong Kong newspapers for schools and approach them. If they're interested in you, they'll sort out the formalities.

Teaching English in Hong Kong can be both demanding and very rewarding. Students are generally enthusiastic, respectful and well behaved.