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8 Tips for a Smoother Move to Hong Kong

It’s all in the planning when it comes to making sure your move to Hong Kong goes smoothly. The more preparations you can make, the easier your move will be. If you follow these 8 top tips, you can be sure that your move to your new life can not only go smoothly, but will be a huge adventure as well.

1. Get the correct paperwork in place

This is by far and away the most important aspect when it comes to making for a smooth move to Hong Kong. Your visa is what will give you the right to reside and work in the country. Of course, these requirements will differ depending on the country you come from.

For example, those with UK residency don’t require a visa to live in Hong Kong for up to six months. However, this does not give you the right to work – for that, you still need a visa.

Hong Kong is part of the People’s Republic of China, but because it is a Special Administrative Region (SAR), it has it’s own entry requirements. All of the current requirements (as of February 2016) can be found on the official Hong Kong Government website.

Once you’ve got the ball rolling as to gaining your visa, you can then concentrate on the more fun aspects of planning your move.

2. Research the best place to live

Seeking out the location of your new home is an exciting one. There are several different residential areas that you might like to check out. They include:

  • Kowloon – this is the northern tip of Hong Kong, on the mainland, and is made up of West Kowloon and Kowloon Tong. Both areas are popular with expats, and boast good shopping and some excellent restaurants. The website, Square Foot, runs listings of properties for sale in the area.

  • Wan Chai – a central neighborhood, full of commerce, hotels and restaurants as well as some high-end expat accommodation. Trovit is a good place to search for vacant accommodation to rent.

  • The Peak – the highest and definitely the most expensive area in which to live. The views are amazing, as are the properties here. The Peak is a sought-after area of Hong Kong for expats to make their home – find some current rentals at Savills.

  • Repulse Bay – is another popular area for expats. There are international schools nearby and a wonderful beach to enjoy. Sotheby’s has adverts for some luxury properties for sale and rent here.

  • The Mid Levels – a popular area for younger expats thanks to it’s close proximity to Hong Kong’s excellent night life. But there are also some good international schools within easy reach, meaning that those with children also find the area a good location to live. Hong Kong Homes is a good source to find apartments and houses to rent and for sale.

  • North Point – If you’re looking for value for money, this might just be the area in which to house hunt. It’s not just an area where expats live – on the contrary, it’s an area chosen by locals. This makes for good inter-nation relations and can provide you with a real sense of ‘living’ in Hong Kong. Check out 28HSE for properties here.

3. Check that your salary expectations will fund your lifestyle

Average salaries in Hong Kong remain above average when compared to the rest of the world. According to crowd sourcing website, Numbeo, the average disposable salary after tax in Hong Kong is $HK 21,875.

Of course, the amount you’re likely to earn depends on the industry in which you work, and your level of employment. Morgan Mckinley has an excellent guide that determines the current pay scales for various different fields of employment in Hong Kong.

4. Understand the local taxation issues

Most expats who come to work in Hong Kong do so on an employed basis. This takes worry about paying your taxes away, as this will be covered by the payroll department. However, it’s still important to understand exactly what you’ll need to pay. For those who’re self employed, this is essential.

Taxation in Hong Kong is less weighty than in some other areas of the world, and thankfully the country has a dual taxation agreement with various other countries to ensure you only pay your taxes in one country.

5. Plan for the kid’s education

If you’re moving with the whole family, then the sooner you begin to research good schools, the better. Many expats choose to educate their kids via an international school, and there are many good ones in Hong Kong.

However, the government school system is also very good – and free. Lessons are run in both Cantonese and English (although how much of these are in English is varies according to each school).

Because there are so many English speaking expats in Hong Kong, there is a further system – run by the English Schools Foundation and funded by the government. Fees for such schools range from $HK 78,700 for primary school to $HK 116,200 for secondary education.

6. What about the four legged members of the family?

Bringing your pets to live in Hong Kong is a fairly simple (if emotionally traumatic) procedure. Luckily most animals are pretty resilient, and tend to adapt well to change if they’re with their regular owners.

The only issue to consider might be the change of climate if you’re moving from somewhere cooler and less humid. It’s necessary to apply for a permit to bring your animal to Hong Kong. In addition, any dog over the age of 5 months has to be registered and have a dog license.

7. Research removal company options

There are many international removal companies who’ll take care of shipping anything you need to Hong Kong. However, if you’re moving from overseas, it might be worth considering whether you actually need to move everything lock, stock and barrel.

If, for example, you’re moving for a short period of time, say a year or two, then the cost and upheaval to ship all your belongings might be prohibitive. When you take into account that it’s very easy to find fully furnished and equipped accommodation to rent in Hong Kong, then the option of putting your furniture into storage at home becomes more attractive.

8. Book your travel arrangements

In general, the sooner you book your flight/s to Hong Kong, the better of a deal you will get. Pretty much all of the world’s major airlines fly to the city, so be sure to shop around before you settle on a particular airline.

Skyscanner provides a very handy tool that compares flight prices from all major providers in real time, meaning you can select and choose the most economic option for you.

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Originally published: https://www.livinginhongkong.org

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