The foreign professional community thrives here in Hong Kong, with a vibrant expatriate social scene that rivals heavyweights like New York and London. Moving to Hong Kong is growing in popularity. We have come up with some key questions asked before you make the move, around working and living in Hong Kong.
“What level of Culture Shock is there in Living in Hong Kong?”
Because of Hong Kong’s mixed East/West history and present, culture shock is not as present an issue as many places in the East. Those who live in Hong Kong have the unique option to embrace as opulent a Western lifestyle as they like, or on the other hand adopt as much of the rich local culture on offer. You just need to know where to go.
“What is the primary culture difference when doing business in Hong Kong?”
Guanxi, or the development of interpersonal relationships is still very important in Hong Kong- even today. The exchange of business cards is an integral part of the business process and is seen as an exchange of gifts- especially amongst the Chinese. It may be taken as an offence if you do not provide a business card in exchange for your acquaintance’s card.
In general, as long as one holds an acceptable level of respect then there is little to be concerned about on a business level.
“How do I find a Job there?”
More and more jobseekers are applying directly for roles in Hong Kong. In the past, most expats would move to Hong Kong having been transferred by European or American multi-national firms. There are numerous recruitment consultants in Hong Kong but many will only offer work to locals, or those actually living in Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong Government has outlined a shortfall in skilled employment, predicted to be 14,000 by 2018. With this on the horizon, attracting foreign talent has become a priority for Hong Kong, especially with rival Singapore progressing as rapidly as it is. To get more information on Finding Work and Industry Profiles check out our working guide.
“How will the Interview Process pan out?”
The interview process for jobs in Hong Kong can take a number of forms, but most people go through multi-national firms or recruitment agencies. This may require a visit to the Dublin or London branch for an interview, or in some cases moving to Hong Kong for an interview. An approach that is growing in popularity in transnational recruitment is to arrange an online interview, but most still require physical presence in Hong Kong.
“What will my Income be like compared to home?”
Your disposable income will be much the same in Hong Kong, if not greater than mosts. Even if your paycheck is lower than in your home country, remember that Hong Kong has one of the lowest income tax arrangements in the world. Have a more detailed look at income tax in Hong Kong in our guide.
Healthcare facilities in Hong Kong rank among the best in the world. It is very much advised that those travelling or moving to Hong Kong get Global Health Insurance before they leave home, in case there is an emergency as Hong Kong is very expensive if the unthinkable happens.
“What about Visas?”
The Hong Kong Government website gives a very detailed, though sometimes confusing account of employment visas for Hong Kong. In general the employer will arrange this for you. For more information on visas, please consult our Visa section.
“How easy is it to find a place to live in Hong Kong?”
It is becoming rarer and rarer that the employer sorts out accommodation for the jobseeker moving to Hong Kong. On some occasions the employer will arrange temporary accommodation, for around a month, maybe three. Those considering the move should be prepared to take on the responsibility themselves. Finding a place to live in Hong Kong can be challenging, and extremely pricy (for the size you get). The requirements for renting a house is generally one month’s deposit, passport copy and employment visa documentation.
To kit out your home there are a number of options ranging from affordable to luxurious. Renting furnished apartments are very common and the standard of furnishing is often very high. If you still prefer to have your own furniture then there are two IKEA outlets and a number of high-end options spread across the city.
“What should I bring when moving to Hong Kong?”
There is nothing you can’t get in Hong Kong that you would have back home. Most of the top international brands are here- for clothing, food and other products. Hong Kong has warm, humid summers and mild winters so you might want to consider that when moving here. For western grocery shopping, check out where your closest ParknShop will be. From IKEA to Marks & Spencer to H&M, and all the top-end designers- it’s all here.
“How easy is moving my pets to Hong Kong?”
Before setting foot in Hong Kong, you have to apply for a Special Permit at a specified fee in order to bring your pet here. You can learn about the application procedures through the the government website.