The Government of the Macao Special Administrative Region (Macao SARG) has enacted the "Law on Employment of Non-Resident Workers" to regulate the importation of labour. The current labour importation policy of Macao SARG operates on the principles that local workers are accorded priority in filling available job vacancies and that importation of labour will not jeopardize the interests of resident workers. Employers are allowed to import workers to supplement the local workforce only when no suitable local workers are available or the local supply is not sufficient. Applications for importation of labour have to be filed to the Non-resident Workers Employment Department of the Labour Affairs Bureau of Macao SARG by the Macao-registered companies.

Generally speaking, non-resident workers should have obtained from Macao authority a permission to work before they commence working in Macao. The Non-resident Workers Employment Department is responsible for processing applications for permission to work for non-resident workers while matters relating to the entry and stay of non-resident workers fall within the ambit of the Public Security Police Force. Employers who have obtained approval to import workers should submit applications for "Non-resident Worker's Identification Card" for the imported workers. The application should be submitted by the employer, its legal representative or through licensed employment agency to the Non-resident Workers Subdivision of the Immigration Department of Macao SARG (Comissariado de T.N.R. of the Servico de Migracao). Information on the procedures for obtaining a Non-resident Worker's Identification Card is available at the website of the Public Security Police Force.

People intending to work in Macao should have, before commencing employment, obtained the permission to work. They are advised to require their prospective employers to produce the work permit granted by Macao authority in order to ascertain if they can work legally in Macao. In case of doubt, employees may approach the Non-resident Workers Employment Department of the Labour Affairs Bureau or the Comissariado de T.N.R. of the Public Security Police Force for assistance in verifying the employment status in order to comply with the rules and regulations of Macao.

Local employees of Hong Kong companies who are deployed to station in Macao are also required to enter into employment contract with the relevant Macao companies which should apply to the Non-resident Workers Employment Department for the necessary approval to employ these employees.

The labour legislation in Macao only applies to its resident workers. However, to protect non-resident workers, the Macao SARG requires employers to sign with non-resident workers written employment contracts. All employment contracts must be approved by the Non-resident Workers Employment Department of the Labour Affairs Bureau. As a general principle, the rights and benefits accorded to non-resident workers under the employment contract should not be lower than the standards stipulated in the relevant labour laws. In case a non-resident worker is not granted any of the contractual rights and benefits or there is any employment-related dispute with his employer, the Labour Affairs Bureau will provide free conciliation service to help the two parties reach a settlement. To protect their own rights, job seekers should take the initiative to understand the terms of employment and the benefit package. They should also ask for a copy of the employment contract after it is signed and keep it for future reference.

Labour matters such as labour relations, employment contracts, working conditions are clearly spelt out in the Labour Relations Law. Though only applicable to resident workers in Macao, they can serve as reference for those who intend to work in Macao.

Macao SARG regulates the protection of non-resident workers in Macao through a written employment contract. According to the relevant employment contract, non-resident workers injured in occupational accidents or suffering from occupational diseases are entitled to protection for occupational injuries and diseases, including medical expenses, compensation for temporary or permanent incapacity, etc. The family members of the victim in fatal cases are entitled to funeral expenses and compensation for death.

Job seekers should note that the provisions of employees' compensation as well as the compensation amount for occupational injuries in Macao are not the same as that of Hong Kong. Please refer to the relevant legislation of Macao for details.

For the main provisions of compensation for occupational injuries in Hong Kong, please refer to the "Overview of Employees' Compensation Ordinance" in the webpage of the Labour Department of Hong Kong.

Generally speaking, if a Hong Kong resident enters into an employment contract in Hong Kong with a Hong Kong employer, and is deployed to work outside Hong Kong, he is protected by the labour legislation of Hong Kong. If he comes across problems of employee's rights and benefits, he may seek assistance from the Labour Department.

Where the situations fall within the exceptions provided under the Administrative Regulation of the Macao SARG, non-Macao residents may take up occasional work of instructive, technical, quality controlling, business auditing in nature, or engage in religious, sports, academic, cultural and artistic exchange activities, please refer to relevant legislation of Macao SAR. Notwithstanding these exceptional circumstances, all non-Macao residents are required in general to have obtained from Macao authority a permission to work before commencing to work and the application for permission to work should be made to the Human Resources Office by Macao-registered companies engaging the foreign workers. Please refer to Information on Employment in Macao.

When looking for employment, job seekers should take into consideration their ability, experience and training to ensure that they can perform the required task safely. Hong Kong residents taking up jobs in Macao will be working in an unfamiliar environment. To minimize the chance of work accidents, please refer to the leaflets on occupational safety and occupational health produced by the Labour Department.

Adjusting to the living style

Although Macao is just located next to Hong Kong, the style of working and prevailing customs in Macao may not be the same as those of Hong Kong. The way of communication between senior staff and their subordinates in the office, contacts among colleagues, the choice of diction in conversation or colloquialisms used may also be different from what we are used to. Hong Kong people working in Macao must go native, keep an open mind in learning and make efforts to adapt to changes.

Maintaining our own advantages

Hong Kong people working in Macao have to integrate into the local community and adapt to new working environment. They also have to make every endeavour to maintain their own competitive edge, keeping in touch with the current affairs as well as economic and political development around the world, strengthening their command of languages (Chinese, English and Putonghua), updating their management skills and maintaining an upright and professional attitude towards work.

Be modest and respectful to others

Hong Kong people working in Macao are advised to respect the ideas or values of their Macao counterparts. It is often desirable to keep an open mind and learn from the strengths of others, and be sincere in getting along with people.

Personal network

Good inter-personal relations and a wide personal network are helpful when you live and work in Macao. To get to know more people, you may attend various gatherings outside working hours, and join industrial and professional organizations, labour organizations or business federations.

Transportation to Macao is convenient and you can get there by sea, land or air. For details, please visit the website of Macao Government Tourism Office.

Working in Macao is subject to local income tax. Detailed information may be obtained from the website of Financial Services Bureau. One should also observe the tax regulations of Hong Kong. For details, please visit the website of Hong Kong Inland Revenue Department.

Some large enterprises in Macao provide quarters for their employees. Job seekers are advised to make prior enquiries with their prospective employers about details of living environment and conditions of quarters. If quarters are not provided, job seekers may need to make arrangements for themselves. They may visit web sites of property agencies in Macao for rental information.

Medical services can be obtained from public hospitals, private hospitals, health centres or clinics in Macao. In case of medical emergency, you can contact the 24-hour emergency services of hospitals (S. Januario Hospita or Kiang Wu Hospital (Chinese version only)). In less urgent cases, you can go to any health centres in Macao or on the other two islands.