Hong Kong has long been regarded as a meeting place between the East and the West, and between modernity and tradition. Amongst the skyscrapers and the temples, you can find many expats- roughly 100,000 of them. Drawn in by the plentiful job opportunities and generally high quality of life, it is no surprise that so many from all over the world now call Hong Kong home.
If you are similarly considering moving to Hong Kong, then you have come to the right place. Below, we have listed the essential things to prepare before taking the leap.
Don’t move to Hong Kong without considering these five things!
Identification and Documentation
Depending on the passport that you hold, most people can stay in Hong Kong without a visa for 180 days. However, you will not be able to legally work without one; therefore, it should be a top priority for you to get one as soon as possible.
The easiest way for you to acquire one would be through your new employer; they will be able to sponsor and issue visas for you and your dependants. The whole process can take two months, so make sure to maintain a strong dialogue with your new employer regarding the status of your visa before you move from your home country.
Aside from a visa, you will also need to acquire a Hong Kong ID card; everyone over the age of 11 has one. If you are staying for longer than six months, you must apply for this within 30 days of landing in Hong Kong. You can register for a valid ID card online through the Immigration Office. This is likely to be the easiest and most efficient way to get it!
Once you have your ID, remember to keep it on you at all times. Hong Kong police can conduct random checks on anyone for them, so don’t be caught off guard!
The opportunities for expats in the finance, logistics and I.T. sectors have always been plentiful. However, in more recent years, lots of opportunities in the digital sectors have sprung up as technology becomes more and more advanced.
Additionally, as the working world has become more of an international playing field, the demand for English teachers has soared. This career opportunity provides good salary opportunities, as do most in Hong Kong.
Remember that whatever sector you enter, it is the norm to work late into the evening in Hong Kong. For the residents, it shows that you truly value your work. Don’t irritate your boss by asking to leave at 5 o’clock everyday!
Another etiquette that is important to consider both in terms of work and everyday life is how Hong Kong residents greet each other. In the West, it is very normal to show affection for someone else by patting them on the back, or hugging them. In Hong Kong, this is against the social norm. Even things such as holding the door open for a colleague are not typically practised.
Hong Kong is thought to have more banks per square mile than any other city, so setting up a local bank account is a must. However, it is the Octopus card which should be the focus of your attention. It is a debit style card which can be used for most everyday transactions, and it can be topped up at stores such as 7-Eleven and Starbucks.
Using the Octopus means that taking public transport, which is already convenient and cheap, becomes even easier. The public transport system is generally very clean and rarely late, with a wide range of options including a tram in the northern region.
The Octopus will also help you with buying food. It is worth bearing in mind that supermarkets can be expensive, and their stock often changes with each week. You must be prepared to begin eating out at local restaurants more, as these can be the cheaper alternative.
Lastly, you must become accustomed to the cultural expectation to share your food with the people you are eating with!
Everybody knows that accommodation in Hong Kong is expensive. In the Mercer 2015 study, it ranked as the second most expensive city in the world to live in. Generally, finding suitable accommodation will be the biggest expense that you will have as an expat.
Luckily, as aforementioned, public transport is cheap, and salaries are generally high within the city. Simultaneously, taxes are famously low. There are some accommodation packages which are available, where you can combine accommodation costs with other expenses, such as schooling, or even a car.
If you are looking to move into a central, well-connected area, it may be worth looking at the Mid Levels, or Wan Chai.
Moving to Hong Kong is extremely exciting. With some preparation, you’ll be well equipped to settle right into your new home. Aspire are constantly recruiting into Hong Kong for the Digital, Marketing, Media, Sales and Technology fields. Current jobs are available to view via our LinkedIn page.
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