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Spotlight on APAC: Macau

In our Spotlight on APAC series roundup the latest developments from across the Asia Pacific region.  In this post we focus on how foreign nationals can work legally in Macau and the recent proposals for minimum wage/salary increases.



Macau was a Portuguese colony and was ceded to China in 1999, two years after Hong Kong.  As such Macau is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the PRC and has separate visa and entry administration to Hong Kong and Mainland China.  Macau doesn’t have any minimum requirements as to ratio of foreign staff to local staff.  Where there is a need for foreign staff the Macau Labour Affairs Bureau will approve a quota for the employing entity.


How do foreigners work legally in Macau?

Generally, foreigners may work legally in Macau as:

  • Work permit or “Blue Card” holders, under Law no. 21/2009 (“Law on Employment of Non-Resident Workers”); or
  • Macau Resident Identification Card holders, who are management and technical personnel, under Administrative Regulation no. 3/2005 (“Managerial Personnel, Technical and Professional Qualification Holders Residency Scheme”, hereinafter the “Scheme”).


Blue Card

“Blue card” is the most typical way of foreigners working in Macau. The Blue card is divided into two categories, skilled and non-skilled. “Blue card” refers to the non-resident worker’s identification Card, which is a work permit issued to foreign workers upon their employer having been granted the quota approval from the Macau Labour Affairs Bureau.

Blue card holders are only permitted to perform work under authorized conditions: approved employer, workplace(s), job position and term.


Management and Technical Personnel

Management and Technical personnel with technical and professional qualifications are considered beneficial to Macau and may be granted temporary residence in Macau under the Management and Technical Personnel scheme.  The main objective of the scheme being to retain highly qualified personnel in Macau through leveraging the grant of residency.

The candidates to the Scheme, once approved as management and technical personnel, may work legally in Macau without work permit. They shall be granted non-permanent residency at first, and shall only become permanent Macau residents upon satisfying other criteria.


Other exceptions

Exceptionally, foreigners may work in Macau as “consultants/technicians”, who are deployed by their employers from an overseas entity, to deliver specific and occasional work or services to a Macau entity. This exception is under the Administrative Regulation no. 17/2004 (“Regulation on Prohibition of Illegal Work”).

Such “consultants/technicians” may provide services in Macau for no more than 45 days in a period of 6 months, and do not need any work permit. This exception is applicable only when there are genuine needs for a local Macau entity to source skills and techniques from overseas.  This covers activities such as guidance, technical, quality control and supervisory services.

This only applies to employees of a foreign entity that has entered into a service provision agreement with the Macau entity in need of that particular skillset.  The agreement itself must be registered with the Macau Financial Services Bureau in compliance with Macau tax law.


Changes to mandatory minimum wages in Macau

Currently Law no. 5/2020 (“Minimum Wages Law”) provides for the following *minimum salary:

  • Monthly Salary: MOP6,656
  • Weekly Salary: MOP1,536
  • Daily Salary: MOP256
  • Hourly Salary: MOP32
  • Piece-Rated Salary: MOP32

The Minimum Wages Law is not applicable to domestic helpers and employees with disabilities.

The Macau Government has recently proposed to revise the minimum wages stipulated in the Minimum Wages Law. The bill is now pending approval by the Macau Legislative Assembly. It proposes that, with effect from January 1, 2024, the mandatory minimum wages will be adjusted as follows:

  • Monthly Salary: From MOP6,656 to MOP7,072
  • Weekly Salary: From MOP1,536 to MOP1,632
  • Daily Salary: From MOP256 to MOP272
  • Hourly Salary: From MOP32 to MOP34
  • Piece-Rated Salary: From MOP32 to MOP34


Should you require assistance with immigration matters in Macau or globally please contact [email protected] or [email protected]


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