Excitement about life in Hong Kong in the run up to the change of sovereignty - along with dwindling opportunities elsewhere - accounts for much of the interest among British young people in short-term jobs in the territory. Whereas years ago young Britons might have traditionally packed a bag and headed off for Australia, the United States or Canada, strict controls have now made it much more difficult to get much more than holiday jobs there and Hong Kong remains one of the few places where it is easy to walk straight into a job, no matter how menial. In Europe thousands of summer jobs are available to young Britons in the Mediterranean holiday industry and between 50,000 and 80,000 British construction workers are employed on German building sites, where locals grumble about them undercutting pay rates. But although Britons have the right to work anywhere in the European Community, in practice it is not so easy as 20 million unemployed among the 15 member states make the prospects of finding work difficult. Many of the young backpackers and others arriving in Hong Kong tie in a few months in the territory with a tour of Southeast Asia, taking in such places Singapore and Thailand as well. According to David Creffield, editor of the magazine Overseas Jobs Express young people are attracted to Hong Kong because people are more aware of the territory now than before. They also take the view that it is a case of 'now or never' if they are going to work in the territory. 'Hong Kong is an exciting place and people are prepared to put up with some difficulties like living in horrible hostels or commuting out to the islands. 'It is more exciting than being unemployed or under-employed or stacking shelves in a supermarket in Britain,' said Creffield. His magazine even publishes a booklet, Finding a Job in Hong Kong, aimed at the new wave of expatriates. There is no centralised agency or office in Britain offering advice to young expats heading for the territory. Certainly the Hong Kong Government office receives its shares of calls inquiring about jobs, pay and conditions. But a spokesman said most of the young expats seemed to simply travel to Hong Kong 'on spec'. 'We tell people that there is a policy of localisation in Hong Kong and unless you have a professional qualification the chances of your getting employment are really rather slim,' he said. But that isn't the experience of young expats willing to take a chance. Eighteen year-old Phillip Wood recently returned to Britain from a few months working in various bars around the territory. 'When I arrived, I reckoned I had enough money to last me about a week, living frugally,' he said. 'As it happened it was not needed. On the first Saturday evening I was offered a job as a waiter at a not-too-nice Chinese nightclub by some guys in the dormitory who were working there.' The next day, touting himself around other restaurants and bars, he was offered three more jobs. 'There is a surprisingly large turnover of staff at the popular Western bars, clubs and restaurants and so there is usually someone looking for staff most of the time,' he said. 'It's just a matter of knowing where to look.'