Guide to Becoming a Medical Practitioner in Hong Kong: Steps and Guidance

Looking to practise medicine abroad? Doctors and Chinese medicine practitioners are amongst the most sought-after professions in Hong Kong, as indicated on the Talent List Hong Kong. A diverse healthcare ecosystem with abundant opportunities for career development, rapid development of medical technologies, initiatives to improve Hong Kong as a leading healthcare innovation hub and its general quality of life, all lead to medical practitioners in Hong Kong being highly respected for their services.

Between the increased government funding and support for the establishment of “InnoLife Healthtech Hub”, telehealth services acceleration, 3D printing adaptation in surgical models or prostheses creation, medical technology product launches from local healthcare startups, and the number of medical forums hosted by universities, ample evidence points to Hong Kong's rapid advancement in medical technology and its ongoing transformation into a leading medical destination, making it an enticing prospect for aspiring practitioners and seasoned doctors alike. Here, they can practice medicine, engage in research, and exchange knowledge in a dynamic and progressive environment.

According to the research by the research office of Legislative Council Secretariat published in 2023, the population-to-doctors ratio has reached 1,000:2.1 and population-to-nurse ratio reached 1,000:8.7 — a critical number for a world-class city with such heavy emphasis on healthcare benefits. Coupled with the recent pandemic and the ensuing hike in health and hygiene awareness, it comes as no surprise then, that doctors, dentists, dental hygienists, nurses and other healthcare service professionals are perpetually in high demand in Hong Kong.

Let’s delve into the steps of becoming a practicing doctor in Hong Kong. To practise as a licensed doctor in Hong Kong is no small feat, but it is very doable if you have the knowledge and credentials. While the healthcare sector in Hong Kong is rigorously regulated to uphold integrity and quality of medical services, established procedures and new policies have laid the groundwork to welcome medical talents from across the world. In the following sections, we will take a closer look at the pathways available for licensed doctors looking to practise in Hong Kong.

Medical Practice in Hong Kong: Registration and Pathways

Generally speaking, anyone wishing to practise medicine, surgery or midwifery in Hong Kong must undergo registration with the Medical Council, adhering to the provisions outlined in the Medical Registration Ordinance.

Whether you’re applying from overseas or Mainland China, there are multiple registration methods available, each with specific requirements, that can get you a valid medical practitioner licence in Hong Kong. Do visit the Medical Council website for the relevant registration forms and guidance notes to learn more; but here’s a quick overview of the various licenses:

  • If you have a degree in medicine and surgery from the University of Hong Kong or The Chinese University of Hong Kong, you are eligible for Full Registration. This requires a minimum of 12 months of employment in a resident medical capacity in approved hospitals.
  • If you are employed by a hospital or other recognised healthcare institutions in Hong Kong, you can be granted approval to practise via Limited Registration. On top of employment, the criteria for Limited Registration include having sufficient post-qualification clinical experience, being registered with a medical authority outside Hong Kong, and having good character. In cases certain requirements are not fully met, limited registration may still be granted with additional restrictions and conditions.
  • If you are a registered medical practitioner outside Hong Kong, at a qualifying place according to the applicable law, you may opt for Special Registration. To be eligible, you must fulfil certain requirements, such as passing the Licensing Examination and completing the required assessment period; or having engaged in full-time employment as a medical practitioner with limited registration in one or more specified institutions for a cumulative period of at least 5 years; or possessing medical qualifications on the list of “recognised medical qualifications”, etc. To add, you need to possess good character and display good professional conduct to be deemed eligible.

The Prospect of Practicing Medicine in Hong Kong

Registering for a doctor licence overseas may sound like a daunting task, but the reward of being a medical practitioner make the effort worthwhile — for instance, Medical and Health Officer in a public hospital can expect a salary from point 32 to 44B of the Master Pay Scale set by the Civil Service Bureau, equivalent to HK$75,585 and HK$ 128,420 a month, or approximately US$ 9,668 to US$ 16,426, while those in the private sector see even more lucrative opportunities.

Making Hong Kong Home to Your Career Ambitions in Medical Industry

Hong Kong places significant emphasis on attracting talented medical professionals and benefiting from their expertise. The value of medical expertise cannot be overstated, as Hong Kong offers a wealth of cutting-edge medical facilities, abundant career opportunities, globally competitive remuneration packages, and an exceptional standard of living. Let Hong Kong be the destination to fulfil your career aspirations, and visit the hot jobs section on Hong Kong Talent Engage for more job opportunities.