Teach English in Hong Kong

Frequently Asked Questions

Check out some of our most frequently asked questions (FAQ) below. 

1. How many hours per week do teachers have to work?
2. What types of courses do teachers get to teach?
3. How many students are there in a standard Hong Kong classroom?
4. How many holidays are teachers given?
5. Where are the schools located?
6. What should I know about finding accommodation in Hong Kong?
7. Can my spouse work in Hong Kong?
8. What is the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) Scheme? 
9. How much will I need to contribute to the MPF scheme?
10. Can I be exempt from the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Ordinance?
11. Do I need to pay tax when working in Hong Kong?
12. How is my salaries tax computed?
13. How do I pay my salaries tax?
14. When do I pay my salaries tax?
15. What should I do when I need to leave Hong Kong when my contract ends/I resign?
16. What are the General Holidays in Hong Kong?

 

1. How many hours per week do teachers have to work?
All Native English Teachers (NETs) may be required to work outside teaching schedule and location, such as during after-school hours and occasional weekends, within or outside their school. Teaching schedules may vary from school to school. The examples below give a general idea of how teaching schedules are like in Hong Kong:

Kindergartens:
• Full-time: Mon – Fri 8:00am – 5:30pm and/or occasional Saturday mornings 
• Part-time: morning session/afternoon session; alternative days of week
• Project-based: Flexible work schedule

Primary schools:
• Full-time: Mon – Fri 8:00am – 5:30pm and/or occasional Saturday morning 
• Part-time: morning session/afternoon session; alternative days of week
• Project-based: Flexible work schedule

Secondary schools:
• Full-time: Mon – Fri 8:00am – 5:00pm and/or occasional Saturday morning
• Part-time: morning session/afternoon session; alternative days of week
• Project-based: Flexible work schedule

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2. What types of courses do teachers get to teach?
Cambridge Young Learners Courses, KET and PET, Phonics, Speaking, Reading and Writing, Interview, Drama, Debate, etc.  

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3. How many students are there in a standard Hong Kong classroom?
Class sizes in Hong Kong public schools may vary. Teachers can expect to have between 30 – 37 students per class. For after-school classes, the class size is around 10 – 25 students per class.  

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4. How many holidays are teachers given?
The schools are given more flexibility over the number and distribution of school days and school holidays to suit the specific needs of the students and the circumstances of the school.

The major school holidays include Christmas, New Year, Chinese New Year, Easter, and summer holiday. It is not unusual for teachers to be required to perform duties on school holidays. However, due to school-specific requirements, this number may vary.

You can also refer to below link of Hong Kong General Holiday for 2019: 
http://www.gov.hk/en/about/abouthk/holiday/

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5. Where are the schools located?
We have clients all over Hong Kong. Details of school can be found below:

Local schools:
Kindergartens: https://kgp2018.azurewebsites.net/edb/index.php?lang=en
Primary schools: https://www.chsc.hk/psp2018/index.php?lang_id=1
Secondary schools: https://www.chsc.hk/ssp2018/index.php?lang_id=1
International schools: http://edb.hkedcity.net/internationalschools/where_they_are.php?lang=en

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6. What should I know about finding accommodation in Hong Kong?
Eureka does not provide housing or housing allowance, but we would be happy to offer advice on seeking accommodation. Apartments in Hong Kong are generally smaller and more expensive than other countries. Rental costs in different districts within Hong Kong vary greatly in price. For a general idea of rental costs in Hong Kong, Please click the link below:
http://www.rvd.gov.hk/en/property_market_statistics/index.html

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7. Can my spouse work in Hong Kong?
Dependants of persons admitted for employment (as professionals, investors or for training) or as capital investment entrants are not prohibited from taking up employment. For more details, you can refer to the website below: (Dependants Visa)
http://www.immd.gov.hk/eng/services/visas/residence_as_dependant.html#firstTab

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8. What is the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) Scheme?
The Mandatory Provident Fund is a retirement protection system. It is a statutory requirement under the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Ordinance (MPFSO) (Cap. 485) that all employees in Hong Kong have to enroll in an MPF scheme.

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9. How much will I need to contribute to the MPF scheme?
The contribution rate for both the employer and the employee as set out in the current provisions of the MPFSO is 5% of the employee's income (excluding Special Allowance), subject to the maximum level of income of HK$30,000 per month.

Please refer to below link for your use: 
http://www.mpfa.org.hk/eng/main/employee/index.jsp

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10. Can I be exempt from the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Ordinance?
An employee can be exempt from the provisions of the MPFSO under certain circumstances which include the following:

Permission is given to the person to land or remain in Hong Kong for the purposes of employment under the conditions of stay imposed in accordance with section 11 of the Immigration Ordinance (Cap. 115); and the period during which the person is given permission to remain in Hong Kong does not exceed 12 months; or

The person is a member of a provident, pension, retirement or superannuation scheme established outside Hong Kong. (Such schemes include personal retirement scheme as well as national retirement scheme. It does not matter whether or not the member is making contributions to the overseas scheme when the person is employed in Hong Kong.)
(Only applicable to employee)

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11. Do I need to pay tax when working in Hong Kong?
As a non-resident working in Hong Kong, you are liable to salaries tax. Salaries Tax is charged for every person in respect of his/her income arising in or derived from Hong Kong from any office or employment of profit and any pension. Income includes all income, perquisites and fringe benefits from the employer or others.

However, if your income is no more than the basic allowance ($132,000 in 2016/17) in the year of assessment (For example, the year of assessment 2015/16 covers the 12 months from 1/4/2015 to 31/3/2016.), you don’t need to pay salaries tax.

You can refer to this website for the updated basic allowance: 
http://www.ird.gov.hk/eng/pdf/pam61e.pdf

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12. How is my salaries tax computed?
Salaries Tax is chargeable on the smaller of your net chargeable income at progressive rates and your net total income at standard rate. In this regard,

(1) Net Chargeable Income = Total Income – Deductions – Allowances
(2) Net Total Income = Total Income – Deductions.

Tax rates for the year of assessment

Net chargeable income (net of allowances)

On the First 40,000 2%
On the Next 40,000 7%
On the Next 40,000 12%
Remainder 17%

Net total income (no allowances)
Standard rate 15%
(Please refer to the example of Q14)

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13. How do I pay my salaries tax?
Your employer shall fill in an employer's return and notification forms (IR56B and IR56M) and return them to the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) before Mayof this year, therefore IRD will mail Tax Return - Individuals (BIR60) on the first working day of May to you. If it is your first time to pay tax, IRD will set up a new account for you, so your tax return forms mailing date is not fixed.

If you do not receive your tax return forms, you can notify IRD by filling in the IR6167 form (http://www.ird.gov.hk/chs/pdf/ir6167.pdf) within 4 months after a year of assessment (which is before July 31st).

If you receive your tax return forms, you must complete and return the forms to IRD within 1 month from the date the forms were sent.

You can make use of the online taxation calculator to calculate your tax:
http://www.gov.hk/en/residents/taxes/etax/services/tax_computation.htm

You must inform IRD immediately if you change your postal address. Please find the Notification of Change of Postal Address for your use.
http://www.ird.gov.hk/chi/pdf/ir1249.pdf


Provisional Salaries Tax of the following year is also required by IRD. Therefore the total salaries tax you need to pay is:

Total Salaries Tax for 2015/16 = Salaries Tax required 2015/16 + Provision Salaries Tax 2016/17 – Provision Salaries Tax 2015/16

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14. When do I pay my salaries tax?
Your salaries tax can be paid in 2 installments, in January and April of the following year separately.

Examples

A. I earned a salary of $40,000 and contributed $1,500 to a Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) Scheme per month as from 1 October 2015. How is Salaries Tax computed for 2015/16?

Year of Assessment 2015/2016
Income ($40000 x 6 months) $240,000
Less: MPF contributions ($1,500 x 6 months) ($9000)
Net Total Income $231,000
Less: Basic allowance ($120,000)
Net Chargeable Income $111,000
   
Progressive Rate  
Salaries Tax payable – First $80,000 (2-7% progressive) $3,600
Balance $31,000 x 12% $3,720
Salaries Tax payable at progressive rate $7,320
   
Standard Rate  
Salaries Tax at standard rate $231,000 x 15% $34,650
   
Salaries Tax payable (the smaller amount) $7,320
Less: 75% Tax reduction (capped at $20,000*) ($5,490)
  $1,830

(*Note – Government Tax Refund) For 2015/16, 75% of the final tax payable under profits tax, salaries tax and tax under personal assessment would be waived, subject to a ceiling of $20,000 per case.

 

B. Do I have to pay Provisional Salaries Tax (PST) for 2016/17?

Yes, the Salaries Tax demand note for you consists of two components:

2015/16 Salaries Tax $1,830
2016/17 PST $44,100
Total Salaries Tax Payable $45,930

Calculation of PST for 2016/17 is based on the income for 2015/16, but grossed up to 12 months, as follows:

Year of Assessment 2016/2017
Income ($40000 x 12 months) $480,000
Less: MPF contributions ($1,500 x 12 months) ($18,000)
Net Total Income $462,000
Less: Basic allowance ($132,000)
Net Chargeable Income $330,000
   
Progressive Rate  
Salaries Tax payable – First $120,000 (2-12% progressive) $8,400
Balance $210,000 x 17% $35,700
PST payable at progressive rate $44,100
   
Standard Rate  
Salaries Tax at standard rate $462,000 x 15% $69,300
   
PST payable (the smaller amount) $44,100

 

C. Questions A& B show that my total tax payable is $45,930 (Salaries Tax required 2015/16 [$1,830] + Provision Salaries Tax 2016/17 [$44,100]– Provision Salaries Tax 2015/16 [$0]. When do I pay? Do I pay by two instalments? 

Normally you would be asked to pay the sum of $45,930 by 2 instalments as follows:

  Amount Payable Due date
1st instalment $34,905 ($1830 + $44,100 x 75%) Around Jan 2017
2nd instalment $11,025 ($44,100 x 25%) Around April 2017

By 1 January 2017 you would have earned income for 9 months to 31 December 2016 (75% of annual income). By 1 April 2017 you would have earned income for the 12 months to 31 March 2017. Hence, paying provisional tax is not paying tax in advance, nor paying tax on future income. 

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15. What should I do when I need to leave Hong Kong when my contract ends/I resign?

There are two significant things you need to deal with in this case: Tax Clearance and Withdrawal of Accrued Benefits of the MPF Scheme.

A. Tax clearance
You should notify our HR department no later than 1 month before the expected date of your departure. IR56Gform will be given to you by us. You will complete IR56G form and take it to the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) for tax clearance. If tax is settled by cheque, a letter of release will normally be sent by post 10 days after receipt of cheque. If you require the IRD to issue the letter of release immediately after payment, you should pay in cash, by EPS or cashier order. If you are exempt from tax, the IRD will still issue a letter of release upon completion of the tax clearance procedures. You will receive a "Letter of Release" after settling the tax from IRD and please kindly give the “Letter of Release” to us to confirm your departure.

B. Withdrawal of Accrued Benefits of the MPF scheme
1. Please kindly fill in the form MPF(S)-W(O). DOWNLOAD
2. After that, you should make a Statutory Declaration(MPF(S)-W(SD2)) at the Home Affairs Department about leaving Hong Kong permanently. DOWNLOAD
 Locations of Home Affairs Department: http://www.had.gov.hk/en/contact_us/index.htm
3. Please bring form MPF(S)-W(O), MPF(S) - W(SD2), HKID, passport, Letter of Release (from Inland Revenue Department) to our MPF company.

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16. What are the General Holidays in Hong Kong?
For the most updated general holiday dates in Hong Kong, please refer here:
https://www.gov.hk/en/about/abouthk/holiday

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