Moving to Hong Kong: what you need to know

Holding a powerful role in the global economy, Hong Kong is a thriving business hub with many financial institutions, international businesses and factories running their headquarters out of the territory.

Expats moving to Hong Kong are greeted with a strong Eastern culture, but with clear Western influences. Hong Kong is said to be ‘where east meets west’; the two cultures have grown to exist alongside each other.

So what’s required to emigrate to the financial and cultural hub of Hong Kong, and what can expats expect once they get there?

Entry requirements

Hong Kong is part of the People’s Republic of China, though as a Special Administrative Region, it has its own immigration controls. It is possible to visit and stay in Hong Kong for up to six months without a visa, but after that you are required to apply for one.

While Hong Kong is part of the People’s Republic of China, you are not allowed to travel to mainland China without a Chinese visa.

Population

Hong Kong has a population of over 7.18 million and is one of the most densely populated areas in the world, with a population density of 6,300 people per square kilometre. Hong Kong also has one of the lowest birth rates in the world, with 1.11 births per woman of child-bearing age. It is estimated that by 2033, 26.8% of the population will be aged 65 or over.

The vast majority of Hong Kong residents are of ethnic Chinese origin, making up over 93.6% of the population. Approximately 50% of the population belong to an organised religion, with Buddhists and Taoists being the two largest groups, followed by Protestants, Catholics, Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs.

Language

Because Hong Kong was initially established as a colony of the British Empire, English is still one of the official languages, as well as Chinese. Due to the territory’s multiculturalism however, there are a variety of other languages commonly spoken, including Cantonese, French, German, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese.

Climate

Situated just south of the Tropic of Cancer, Hong Kong has a humid subtropical climate, with four distinguishable seasons. Spring is usually warm and humid, while summers are hot and rainy. Autumns are quite sunny and pleasant, and winters are relatively dry and cool. Hong Kong is sometimes subjected to typhoons in summertime, which can lead to flooding and landslides. Shops and banks will be closed when a level 8 typhoon warning is given.

Quality of life

While overall wealth has increased, recent years have seen the quality of life drop in Hong Kong, partly down to increasingly unaffordable property prices. The latest quality of life index, compiled by the Chinese University of Hong Kong, found that housing affordability was at its lowest point in a decade, despite an improved unemployment rate and increase in wages.

Healthcare

It is important to note that there is no NHS equivalent in Hong Kong; no healthcare is provided free of charge. It is vital that you get medical insurance arranged if you plan to move to Hong Kong, otherwise, should you fall ill or injure yourself, you could be hit with very high medical bills.

Law

Hong Kong law is based mainly on UK law. Residents can receive on-the-spot fines for littering and spitting, and a zero-tolerance system is in place for those travelling without a ticket on the Mass Transit Railway. All Hong Kong residents are required to carry a valid Hong Kong ID card with them at all times, and can face prosecution if stopped by the police without one.

With a key partner office in the heart of Wan Chai,  Pickfords relocates hundreds of expats to Hong Kong every year. To find out how we can help you fulfill your expat dream, visit our website or call 0800 019 8557.

 

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