Quantity Surveying & Construction Jobs UK - Hong Kong - Canada - Worldwide

Construction Jobs and Work Visas for Hong Kong People to Relocate to Live and Work in Canada and the UK


As construction recruitment consultants, Maxim has been finding construction professionals jobs around the world since around 2005.  Some of the first international placements we completed were in Suriname and Jamaica although for the rest of the decade Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Bahrain quickly became the major construction recruitment destinations where our successful candidates took up new job offers.  Hong Kong Maxim Recruitment officially opened in 2011, and quickly became a construction recruitment hotspot covering both Hong Kong and much of Asia.  In 2018, Maxim Recruitment in Canada opened its doors and we have been providing local Canadian and international candidates construction career opportunities there ever since.

Thinking to the future, one of the exciting prospects for 2021 is that both the UK and Canada are set to offer Hong Kong people who are qualified and experienced construction professionals, very attractive immigration terms to come to live and work in both these countries.  Maxim Recruitment has the office infrastructure, client knowledge and recruitment experience to be able to help the best-experienced Hong Kong construction professionals to do this.  We can help with job moves from working in Hong Kong to working in attractive UK locations such as London, Birmingham or Manchester, or construction hotspot locations in Canada such as Toronto and Vancouver.  Let’s take a look at this in more detail in four sections:

1.   Investment levels & Construction Projects

2.  Skill Shortages and Availability of Skills in Other Countries

3.  Immigration rules – Canada & UK

4.  Financial and lifestyle factors

1.  Investment levels & Construction Projects

Covid-19 has prompted many international governments to increase investment in infrastructure and construction spending. There is a view amongst the IMF and many politicians (see Guardian article) that raising public spending on construction infrastructure is a cost efficient way of boosting employment and jobs and growing GDP.  As we detailed in a recent blog, Hong Kong is itself seeking to substantially increase its construction spend and portfolio of live projects which will offer some great job opportunities for both Hong Kong locals and international construction professionals. However, other countries are following this logic too and it is worth keeping an eye on, amongst others, the H2 project and the $180BN portfolio of Canadian infrastructure work that is in the construction pipeline.  What is different to the past though, is that Hong Kong citizens and Permanent Residents with construction qualifications and experience are of particular interest to the UK and Canada to come and work on their infrastructure construction and rail projects.

2.   Skill Shortages and Availability of Skills in Other Countries

The construction industry relies on experienced skilled workers for construction projects to be well built and be delivered on time and on budget.  One could imagine that every country in the world would like to offer its own nationals some of the best-paid and most highly skilled jobs on the construction projects they are making massive investment in.  However, in the modern globalised world, countries are interdependent on each other and different companies from different countries can offer specialist expertise that adds value and saves money.  With this expertise exchange comes the global migration of skilled professionals between countries that Maxim has assisted with for over 15 years.  A good example of this would be that of the rail industry, although there are many other good examples of this across the construction industry that could be mentioned.  There are a limited number of heavy rail, light rail and underground rail projects happening at one time around the world.  Someone with experience of building the Docklands Light Railway in London might be ideal to work on the Dubai Metro next, then the Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway, and eventually the Vancouver SkyTrain project in Vancouver, Canada.  The employee gets career progression, world travel and an exciting life and lifestyle, while the employers get a fantastic level of world leading expertise; it’s a win-win for everyone.  However, it isn’t always easy to find out about these opportunities, which is where Maxim Recruitment can help Hong Kong construction professionals to make the connections for construction jobs in Canada and the UK.  Another limiting factor often relates to immigration related matters - immigration rules, complexity of the process, the cost and the employer perception of the cost/hassle versus the value proposition, which is the section we turn to next.

3.  Immigration rules

Until recently, Maxim Recruitment has most commonly recruited British citizens for UK jobs, Canadian and British Citizens for jobs in Canada, and British and Hong Kong people for jobs in Hong Kong.  However, both Canada and the UK have indicated a specific interest, and are actively planning towards offering particular cohorts of Hong Kong Citizens and Hong Kong Permanent Residents working in construction a route to work permits, residency and ultimately citizenship in the UK and Canada.  Let’s take a look at Canada and the UK in turn:


In November 2020, the Canadian Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship announced;

A new immigration initiative that will attract students and youth from Hong Kong to Canada by offering a new open work permit and broadening their pathways to permanent residency. This initiative builds on the 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan and is designed to encourage recent Hong Kong graduates and those with essential work experience to choose Canada as a place to study, work, and settle.

While a variety of Canada immigration schemes already exist, with some having been temporarily suspended or delayed during 2020 due to Covid-19, the anticipated resumption of existing scheme s and these additional schemes for 2021 onwards offer very exciting opportunities for Hong Kong people with construction experience to consider.  With the Canadian government’s policy to encourage international skills into Canada to expand construction capability, it just requires ambitious, qualified and experienced Hong Kong people to come forward and begin the process of finding a new construction job in Canada with specialist construction recruitment agencies like Maxim.

The UK

At the time of writing this in mid-December 2020, the UK is still working to limit the risk of Covid-19 and is also at the final stages of negotiating a Brexit deal and withdrawal from the European Union.  It can be hoped and anticipated that the health dangers of Covid will be broadly beaten with the mass roll out of a vaccine in the first half of 2021.  Brexit, however the final negotiations turn out, offers a fantastic and historic opportunity for Hong Kong people who are interested to work and live in the UK.  With the end of free movement of people from Europe to the UK. The UK is particularly ready to welcome the immigration of skilled construction professionals from Hong Kong to contribute to the British economy and work on a variety of rail and construction projects. In June 2020 the British newspaper, The Guardian reported that:

Boris Johnson has opened the path to what he called one of the “biggest changes” to the British visa system, stating he was ready to offer a right to live and work in the UK to any of the nearly 3 million Hong Kong citizens eligible for a British National Overseas passport.

While exact details of the scheme are yet to be announced including details of who exactly will be eligible to apply for it, the UK government has stated that it expects around half a million people to take up the offer of coming from Hong Kong to the UK to work over the first three years of the scheme, and other groups anticipate this number being even higher. As someone who has previously moved from the UK to live and work in Hong Kong for many years, I can heartily recommend taking the opportunity to live and work outside your home country for an extended period if an attractive opportunity presents itself.

4.  Financial and lifestyle factors

This final section briefly touches on why people move to live and work in a different country and how to make it happen.  As we always discuss with our newly registered candidates at interview stage, there will likely be opportunities in your home country and it is always a big move to relocate abroad be it alone or with your immediate family.  Understanding why you are looking to relocate and what you are looking to achieve from doing so is critically important to your success.

Ultimately, relocating from Hong Kong to Canada or the UK for a construction job is a personal decision and the determining factors will decided by you – factors that are pushing you away or pulling you in.  What can be said with confidence is that both Canada and the UK can offer fantastic career and lifestyle opportunities depending on what it is that you are looking for.  While tax rates are higher in both Canada and the UK than they are in Hong Kong, career prospects and construction projects to work on can be excellent.  Again, depending on what you are looking for, city or country life in the UK can be fantastic, as it can be in Canada also.  Hobbies and lifestyle factors should be considered alongside the benefits of taking up specific career opportunities in a particular location.  Also, 2020 has definitely been a year where people have seen more clearly that we work to live not purely live to work, and salary, remuneration and taxation matters are only part of the overall picture.

If you are in Hong Kong and are considering a construction career move overseas to countries such as the UK or Canada, 2021 onwards could be a great time to make this happen.  While Maxim can not secure visas/work permits/assist with citizenship applications, or offer personal advice on such matters, we can refer you to professional immigration advisers that can offer you appropriate advice.  There is also a wealth of information on the highlighted UK and Canadian schemes available to research and study on the internet as a starting point.  What the team at Maxim can potentially do, depending on your CV, is to introduce you to construction projects with employers interested to employ you under the auspices of the new UK and Canadian schemes to be active from 2021 onwards. 

The starting point for this process is for interested candidates to decide on their preferred plans and ambitions, and to prepare a high quality CV in Word format that accurately reflects the skills, experience and qualifications in construction that would catch the eye of an international construction employer.  Submit this carefully proof-read construction CV either to the most suitable live vacancy listed at www.maximrecruitment.com or make a general job application and with it, provide as much detail as you can about your future career, job, project and location preferences.

One of the exciting prospects for 2021 is definitely that both the UK and Canada are set to offer Hong Kong people, who are qualified and experienced construction professionals, a viable immigration route to come to live and work in both these countries.  Maxim Recruitment has the office infrastructure, client knowledge and recruitment experience to be able to help the best-experienced Hong Kong construction professionals to do this and we look forward to doing this in 2021 onwards

Steve Thomas
Construction Recruitment Director, UK & Canada
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/maximrecruitment





Construction job search