The outlook is positive for lawyers considering Asia for career opportunities. Popular destinations are Singapore, Hong Kong and mainland China, with further opportunities in Indonesia and Japan. While China’s massive economic activity has decelerated, its development continues to sustain extensive activity in Beijing and Shanghai. International firms continue to expand operations in China with a focus on M&A, private equity, construction, infrastructure and real estate work. Hong Kong and Singapore remain busy in transactional and litigious areas, with opportunities for cross-border work and international arbitration a draw card.

A minimum of two years’ major firm experience is expected for lateral recruitment. Most of the roles occur at the three to seven years’ experience level. Fluent language skills remain a prerequisite in most centres, with Singapore the most practical option for lawyers without language skills.

Lawyers (in particular litigators) may also be required to requalify or register with local bar organisations in some jurisdictions. However, international firms often offer foreign lawyers opportunities to practice in foreign jurisdictions, forming partnerships with local firms to bridge the gap between local and international services.

In large international cities such as Hong Kong, Tokyo and Beijing the higher cost of living is generally offset by greater salaries than can typically be expected in Australia, and by low income tax rates. The arrival of a large number of non-Asian companies in these cities has resulted in an upturn in general corporate work. In Hong Kong, the regulatory market is also especially active, owing to vigorous activities of local securities regulators.

Many international firms are willing to sponsor foreign lawyers, and assist with transitional immigration issues such as visas and work permits. For full details of immigration requirements in each jurisdiction, please contact the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

For more information on opportunities in Asia please contact one of our international consultants.

Melbourne on 61 3 9629 2111

Sydney on 61 2 9241 1199