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A Comprehensive Guide on How to Become a Foreign Nurse in Hong Kong


With an approximate distance of only 1,330 kilometers apart, the Philippines and Hong Kong are relatively near one another. The proximity makes it a great place to work in if you wish to work abroad, which is also why there are so many OFWs in the country, allowing you to meet other Filipinos there. Aside from that, the delicious food, and magnificent landscapes could convince you to work in the country. If you choose to apply as a nurse in Hong Kong, you will have to register and apply to the NCHK, and take a licensure examination that will assess if you are fit to work there.

About the Country

Hong Kong is officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. It is located in the east of the Pearl River (Zhu Jiang) estuary found on the South coast of China. Based on the Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong, there are approximately 7.5 million people residing in Hongkong, as of 2020. Hong Kong is known for its rich history, which allowed it to acquire a more affluent and contemporary environment. It is also an exceedingly rich region of the world, with the seventh-highest number of billionaires of any region on the planet. Due to this, there are numerous modern pleasures in the country, which include high-end stores and shopping malls, world class restaurants, and top of the line housing complexes. 

Hong Kong also has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, making it a safe place to live in if you want to work abroad. The country is also full of breath-taking landscapes, which you will wish to visit when in the country. Its magnificent mountain trails, and outlying islands could truly allow you to take a breath of fresh air away from the city. In fact, the country is made up of an estimate of 70 percent green space, with more than 300 hills and over 250 islands. Aside from the beautiful destinations you could visit, Hong Kong is also famous for being the “Culinary Capital of Asia’, due to its wide variety of restaurants that you could choose from. They have various cuisines for you to try. If you are afraid that their food may be too expensive for your budget, you do not have to worry as the street foods in the country could keep your stomach filled with only a few Hong Kong dollars. If you have some spare cash to spend, you could try out their Michelin star restaurants that are sure to satisfy your cravings. 

The transport system in the country is also very quick, affordable, and reliable. You could choose to take taxis, MTRs, trams or buses, making it very convenient for you to get to one place to another. 

Healthcare System 

According to the 2018 Bloomberg Health-Efficiency Index, Hong Kong ranked as number one worldwide. The country provides one of the best healthcare services in the world, as their facilities and equipment are highly advanced and of high quality. With this, aspiring nurses could truly enjoy working in the country. 

Fillipinos in Hong Kong

Due to the nursing shortage in the country, the Hospital Authority mentioned that they are hiring nurses from the Philippines. The country is not only hiring Filipino nurses, but also nurses of various nationalities. 

There are many overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in the country, so you may be able to meet other Filipinos. In fact, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority, 6.3 percent of the 1.77 million OFWs work in Hong Kong. Furthermore, the Filipino Nurses Association Hong Kong was created for Filipino nurses to meet one another, as well as gain important information.

Type of Nurses

 There is a wide range of nursing career opportunities that you could choose from in Hong Kong. Some of the common types of nurses in Hong Kong are General Registered Nurses, Enrolled Nurses (General), and Enrolled Nurses (Psychiatric). 

Registered Nurses (RN)

Registered nurses primarily monitor patients, dispense medications, keep records, consult with healthcare experts, educate patients, and do other vital patient-care tasks. Some types of registered nurses are Psychiatric Registered Nurses, and Registered Nurses (Mentally Subnormal), and Registered Nurses for sick children. 

Enrolled Nurses (EN)

The responsibilities of enrolled nurses (EN) include providing nursing care as part of an interdisciplinary medical team and under the guidance and supervision of a RN. ENs offer nursing assistance and comfort to patients in aspects of health, elder care, welfare, and community settings within their area of practice.


Based on the data in, nurses in Hong Kong earn an average salary of 35,300 HKD (₱250,784.72). The salary of nurses in the country varies depending on the qualifications, and the amount of clinical experience that a nurse has. For instance, entry-level nurses earn an average of 22,700 HKD (₱161,269.49), whereas nurses with more experience could earn as much as 68,100 HKD (₱483,808.48). 
The salary is also dependent on the specific nursing career that you may choose to take. For example, acute care nurses earn an average salary of 29,800 HKD (₱211,710.61), while critical care nurses earn an average of 30,000 HKD (₱213,131.49). Neonatal nurse practitioners earn an average of 41,200 HKD (₱292,700.58). By choosing to take further nursing specializations, you could have a higher salary.

Demand for Nurses

Despite the increase in the number of nurses in Hong Kong from 17,034 in 1996 to 61,295 in 2020, it is still predicted that a nursing shortage may occur. By 2030, 1,669 more nurses may be needed in the country. The demand for nurses, however, is significantly lower as compared to those of the other Asian countries. The nurse-patient ratio is 8.2 nurses per 1,000 individuals in the country.


Public Hospitals

The Hospital Authority is in charge of 43 public hospitals and institutions, 49 specialist outpatient clinics, and 73 general outpatient clinics. Based on their respective locations, these are divided into seven hospital clusters, which make sure that all patients receive high quality treatments. 

The two clusters in Hong Kong Island are Hong Kong East Cluster and Hong Kong West Cluster. 

Hong Kong East Cluster

The hospitals in this cluster are Cheshire Home, Chung Hom Kok, Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital, Ruttonjee Hospital, St. John Hospital, Tang Shiu Kin Hospital, Tung Wah Eastern Hospital, and Wong Chuk Hang Hospital.

Hong Kong West Cluster

The hospitals in this cluster are Grantham Hospital, MacLehose Medical Rehabilitation Centre, Queen Mary Hospital, The Duchess of Kent Children’s Hospital at Sandy Bay, Tsan Yuk Hospital, Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Fung Yiu King Hospital, and Tung Wah Hospital

The three clusters in Kowloon are Kowloon Central Cluster, Kowloon East Cluster, and Kowloon West Cluster. 

Kowloon Central Cluster

The hospitals in this cluster are Hong Kong Buddhist Hospital, Hong Kong Children’s Hospital, Hong Kong Eye Hospital, Hong Kong Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service, Kowloon Hospital, Kwong Wah Hospital, Our Lady of Maryknoll Hospital, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and TWGHs Wong Tai Sin Hospital.

Kowloon East Cluster

The hospitals in this cluster are Haven of Hope Hospital, Tseung Kwan O Hospital, and United Christian Hospital.

Kowloon West Cluster

The hospitals in this cluster are Caritas Medical Centre, Kwai Chung Hospital, North Lantau Hospital, Princess Margaret Hospital, and Yan Chai Hospital

The two clusters in New Territories are New Territories East Cluster and New Territories West Cluster. 

New Territories East Cluster

The hospitals in this cluster are Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital, Bradbury Hospice, Cheshire Home, Shatin, North District Hospital, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin Hospital, and Tai Po Hospital.

New Territories West Cluster

The hospitals in this cluster are Castle Peak Hospital, Pok Oi Hospital, Siu Lam Hospital, Tin Shui Wai Hospital, and Tuen Mun Hospital.

Private Hospitals

In Hong Kong, the medical private sector is run like a company. This means that private hospitals, whether for-profit or not-for-profit, have a motive to generate money. In exchange, they offer a strong customer service model and compete on comfort, selection, wait times, and quality of treatment. Private hospitals in Hong Kong include CUHK Medical Centre, Canossa Hospital (Caritas), Evangel Hospital, St Paul’s Hospital, Union Hospital, Hong Kong Baptist Hospital, Gleneagles Hong Kong Hospital, and St. Teresa’s Hospital

In order to be able to work as a nurse in Hongkong, you must fulfill the following qualifications:

Educational Requirement

Registered nurses trained outside of Hong Kong must have completed a bachelor’s degree in nursing course, with a minimum course duration of 3 years, or a pre-registration nursing program, also with a minimum of 3 years duration. In addition to this, in order to practice nursing, you must also have a valid certificate issued by an institution that is recognized by the National Council of Hong Kong (NCHK).


To be qualified to work as a nurse in Hong Kong, you must be at least 21 years old during the registration period, and at least 20 years old for enrollment.


In order to apply to become a foreign nurse in Hong Kong, you must complete the application form, and present the following documents: original and photocopies or notarized copies of your nursing graduation certificate, Hong Kong identification card or passport, and your certificate to practice nursing or other documents equivalent to evidence proving that you are qualified to practice nursing outside of Hong Kong. 

It is important to keep in mind that if you will submit the application in person, you will be asked to present both original and photocopies of the required documents. The original documents will be returned to you right after the verification process. Furthermore, if you will submit the application through post, you must submit the original notarized copies of the necessary documents. If in case the local registration or enrollment authority only provided the certificate in digital form, you will be required to send a printout of the e-certificate to the NCHK. The document must be legalized through notarization. 

Aside from the documents mentioned above, you will also have to present a transcript from a recognized institute. The aforementioned document must indicate your full name, course code, as well as the grade you acquired from each subject that you attended. A separate record, which induces a thorough breakdown in the theoretical and clinical training hours of each subject taken, must also be submitted. In order to prevent any delay in the application process, you could ask the training institute that you acquired your documents from to complete and directly return to the NCHK the “Verification of Training Details”, which can be found on pages 6 to 9 of the application form, in an official sealed envelope.

You must also provide the “Verification of Original Registration”, which could be found on page 10 of the application form, to the institution, in your country of origin, that issued your certificate. They will have to complete the form and submit it directly to the NCHK, in an official sealed envelope. It is important to keep in mind that the training institute may take three to four months to complete and submit both the “Verification of Training Details” and “Verification of Original Registration”. Once the NCHK receives these documents, the council will examine your application, provided that all the necessary information and documents are complete. Supporting documents may be required if in case the provided documents are not enough. 

It is also essential to take note that if your name on the documents submitted appears differently, you may be asked to submit a statutory declaration, which will verify the various names on the documents you provided. The original or notarized copy of the salutatory declaration must also be submitted to the NCHK. 

The applications for registration and enrollment are two distinct applications, which means that you will be asked to submit a full set of individual application forms, as well as documents, for each registration and enrollment process.


Prior to being able to work in Hong Kong as a foreign nurse, you must pass the Nursing Council Licensing Examination (NCLEX) of the NCHK. 

Nursing Council Licensing Examination (NCLEX)

In order to be a licensed nurse in Hong Kong, you will be required to successfully complete the Nursing Council Licensing Examination (NCLEX). The examination consists of the written and practical sections. You must acquire a minimum passing score in the written section prior to taking the practical part. You must pass both sections of the examination before being qualified to register or enroll with the NCHK. 

Make sure to prepare all the necessary documents, and take the required examinations in order to prevent any delays in your application process. Once you have submitted these, and you are deemed as eligible to work in the country, you are now one step closer to fulfilling your dream of working as a nurse in Hongkong. Good luck!


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