Relocating to another country is daunting. A welcoming city with easy access to a world of modern amenities and facilities, Hong Kong takes some of that pressure off you though – especially if you’re well prepared ahead of time.
Hong Kong To The Uninitiated…
Hong Kong is one of the world’s largest financial hubs and a popular holiday destination, with rich trade and culture at its heart. As the territory used to be a British colony before the transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to the People’s Republic of China in 1997, its society has a strongly Western-influenced lifestyle. Since its inclusion into China, the city has become even more popular with both travellers and expats alike, drawing hordes of business and adventure seekers to its bustling harbor. According to GO-Globe, in 2015, 4.6% of the total population consists of expats!
Top 10 Important To-Do’s Before You Move to Hong Kong
The thought of change is exciting. But it’s also best described as the lull of anticipation before the storm! Once you get into the actual hustle and bustle of logistics and paperwork, “new” experiences don’t seem so hyped up anymore, especially when you have to start over anew. To help you alleviate some inevitable relocation anxiety, here’s a list of 12 things you should prepare for:
1. Passport? Check!
For starters, check that your passport (and your family’s too if they’re also relocating with you) is valid, and will not expire with the six months of your arrival in Hong Kong.
2. Verify Your Visa
Check if you need a visa to enter Hong Kong. Many countries do not require visas for short stays, however ensure that you visit the official homepage of the Immigration Department of The Government of the Hong Kong Administrative Region. Expats of about 170 countries and territories may visit Hong Kong for a preliminary recce without a visa/entry permit for a period ranging from 7 days to 180 days.
More details on visa/entry permit requirements for visitors to the HKSAR can be found at Visit Visa / Entry Permit Requirements for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. To work in Hong Kong, you must have a valid working permit. Generally employers apply for permits on behalf of expats (once you’ve arrived in the country), however, this can be a tedious process. Do make sure you have at least two blank pages in your passport for your visa and stamps for when you travel.
3. Establish Your Plan
Most expatriates move to Hong Kong after having been hired by a multi-national corporation. If you have successfully secured a job, the company will take care of your visa application process for you, and it’s a relatively straightforward process. Establishing yourself in the company for 7 years as a resident of Hong Kong will entitle you for Permanent Residency (PR) status, and then you can work and move around freely as you wish without visas. The other option for those looking to stay long-term in Hong Kong is to start your own business and get your own work visa, which is a transparent and less bureaucratic procedure compared to many other Asian countries.
4. Make Arrangements For Your Children
If you have children who are of schooling age, make arrangements for their enrolment immediately as school terms and admission times may be different.
5. Moving Around Freely and Safely in Hong Kong
For information on how to apply for an international driving license in Hong Kong, visit the official webpage of the Hong Kong Transport Department. Arrange travel and health insurance abroad (some international companies offer these benefits as part of their relocation package).
6. Work Out Pension Matters
Check to see how your pension will be affected and whether you or your employer can/will make contributions.
7. Take Care of Medical Examinations
Pay a visit to your medical physician and dentist to get examinations, vaccines and a copy of your records or results (these may also be needed for your insurance cover).
8. Relocating With Your Furry Friends? Make Arrangements, Fast.
Can’t bear to leave your pet behind? They may be required to go into quarantine and will require special travel arrangements. As this can be a lengthy process, it’s advised you look into this straight away.
9. Settle Financial & Personal Matters Back Home
If you’re leaving your home for a longer period, you may want to give “power of attorney” of your financial matters to someone while you’re away. Also don’t forget to redirect your mail while you’re at it.
10. Let Tax Authorities and Financial Providers Know
Inform the tax authorities that you’re leaving (and pay any outstanding tax bills and loans) as in some countries – you may be prohibited from leaving if caught for this offense. Also, do notify your bank and cancel any accounts or credit cards to ensure that you’re no longer paying interest.
Did we miss out anything? If you have any other essentials to recommend, do share your suggestions in the comment box below and “Bon voyage!”