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The Contracts for Employment Outside Hong Kong Ordinance (Cap. 78) is enacted to control contracts of employment entered into in Hong Kong by employees who are employed to work outside Hong Kong.


1. When is the Ordinance applicable?


Section 4 of the Ordinance states that “this Ordinance applies to contracts of employment entered into in Hong Kong after the commencement of this Ordinance (1 November 1965), by which a person in Hong Kong enters or agrees to enter into the service of another person who is not in Hong Kong and not carrying on a business in Hong Kong where the contract is to be performed, whether wholly or partially, outside Hong Kong.”


However, the Ordinance does not apply to the following:

  • members of the crews of ships or aircraft
  • people migrating for employment
  • non-manual employees whose wages exceed $20,000


2. What are the obligations under the Ordinance?


Under the Ordinance, every contract for employment outside Hong Kong must be in writing and signed by both the employee and employer or his duly authorized representative before the employee departs from Hong Kong. The contract must contain the following so as to set out clearly the parties' rights and obligations: particulars of the employer and employee, place and nature of employment, particulars of wages and working days and hours, duration of contract, etc.


The contract must also be presented to the Commissioner for Labour for attestation before the employee departs from Hong Kong, who can refuse to attest if he is of the view that the terms of the contract are unfair to the employee or cannot protect the rights of the employees.


The maximum duration of such contract must not exceed 2 years if the employee is not accompanied by any dependents or 3 years if the employee is accompanied by a dependent or the maximum period prescribed by the law of the place in which the contract is to be performed.