Unemployment Benefit

Find out if you might be eligible for unemployment benefit in Hong Kong, and how to apply...

The Support for Self-Reliance Scheme, administered by the Social Welfare Department (SWD), is the benefit scheme which applies mostly to the unemployed. It is designed to help able-bodied unemployed people find work and to provide them with a basic level of income in the meantime.

  • More details of this benefit and how to apply for it can be found on the SWD website

There are strict rules regarding being available for work and undertaking some community work while unemployed. In return, the government offers tax benefits when a person returns to work.

Being eligible for unemployment benefit

Only residents aged between 15 and 59 may apply and there are strict residence requirements – usually seven years, which will rule out most newcomers. Like other benefits in Hong Kong, applicants will be means tested and if they live in a family group the household income, not just their own financial means, will be assessed.

New arrivals without work will have to prove that they can support themselves before being allowed entry – this applies to students coming to study in Hong Kong as well. There is no automatic right to a state unemployment benefit.

Anyone who has been employed and subsequently finds themselves out of work may qualify for benefit but note that state benefits in Hong Kong are not easy to come by.