• published on 4/26/2023
  • 5min

Checklist before moving to Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a city that is constantly on the move. Its unique culture and way of life are a result of its rich history and diversity, which has been shaped by its position as a global financial hub and a melting pot of cultures.

Checklist before moving to Hong Kong

Moving to Hong Kong requires careful planning and preparation, as the city's fast-paced lifestyle can be overwhelming for those who are not accustomed to it. From finding a place to live, to navigating the healthcare system, to understanding the local customs and traditions, there are many factors to consider when relocating to Hong Kong. However, with the right mindset and a willingness to adapt, living in this dynamic city can be an incredibly rewarding experience.

Whether you're moving for work, study, or just for a change of scenery, having a comprehensive checklist of essential items to consider can help make the transition smoother and less stressful.

1.  Visa and work permits

The first step in the process of moving to Hong Kong is to determine your visa status. There are several different categories of visas available, including employment, investment and dependant visas.

If you are relocating to Hong Kong for work, obtaining a valid work visa under the General Employment Policy (GEP) is mandatory. It's important to note that the GEP visa is typically issued for a specific duration and you must have a confirmed job offer from a Hong Kong-based employer to be eligible.

2.  Housing and accommodation

With limited space and high demand, the cost of living in Hong Kong is significantly higher than in many other parts of Asia. To find the most suitable location for your needs, it's essential to research the different districts and neighbourhoods carefully.

> Read more: Best places to live in Hong Kong for expats

Consider factors such as proximity to work or school, access to public transportation, and availability of amenities such as grocery stores, restaurants, and parks.

Don’t forget to factor in the cost of rent, utilities, and other living expenses into your budget when considering your options. Lastly, consider working with a reputable real estate agent who can help navigate the rental market and ensure that all legal requirements are met.

3.  Banking and finance

Hong Kong's banking and financial industry is renowned for its stability, making it a favoured hub for global commerce and trade. While opening a bank account in Hong Kong is a hassle-free process, you must assess factors such as fees, interest rates, and digital banking capabilities.

Hong Kong's extensive banking network comprises 163 licensed banks, providing a lot of options to choose from. You can conveniently open an account at branches located in international areas like Causeway Bay or Central, where English-speaking staff are available to guide you through the account opening process.

4.  Transportation

Hong Kong's public transportation system is one of the most efficient and comprehensive in the world, making it a breeze for commuters to get around and travel to different parts of the city.

With the MTR subway system, buses, trams, and ferries, there are plenty of options available to cater to everyone's needs. The MTR, in particular, is a high-speed rail system that connects most of the city, making it easy to travel across different districts.

Additionally, the buses and trams are affordable and run frequently, making them a popular choice for those who want to avoid crowds on the MTR. The ferry system is also a great option for those who want to travel between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon.

5.  Culture and language

Hong Kong's unique blend of Chinese and Western cultures is what makes it such a fascinating and dynamic place to live and work. The city's colonial history and international outlook have resulted in a rich cultural tapestry, with influences from across Asia and the West.

To fully appreciate and engage with Hong Kong's culture, it's essential to understand and respect the local customs and traditions. For example, gift-giving is an important part of Chinese culture, and it's common to exchange small gifts when meeting someone for the first time or attending a social event. However, be mindful of cultural taboos, like giving clocks as gifts as they are associated with death.

Learning basic Cantonese or Mandarin can also be helpful in daily life, especially when dealing with locals. While English is widely spoken in Hong Kong, many locals prefer to communicate in Cantonese or Mandarin, particularly in more traditional or local settings. Even learning a few simple phrases can go a long way in building rapport and showing respect for the local culture.

6. International schools

International schools in Hong Kong cater to a diverse range of students from different nationalities, backgrounds, and cultures. These schools offer a curriculum that is typically based on the International Baccalaureate (IB) system or the British or American curriculum.

Here are some of the city’s top international schools to help you make an informed decision when it comes to your child's education:

  • American International School

  • Australian International School

  • Canadian International School

  • French International School

  • Hong Kong International School

  • Singapore International School

7.  Healthcare and insurance

The healthcare system in Hong Kong is renowned for its top-notch quality but can be quite expensive. It is crucial to have comprehensive international health insurance coverage to safeguard yourself and your family in the event of illness or injury.

MyHEALTH is the most flexible health insurance plan in Hong Kong. Tailor your coverage to fit your unique needs and budget, with the ability for every family member to customise their own plan.

Whether you're a Hong Kong national, permanent resident, or foreigner, MyHEALTH is available to all, ensuring that everyone has access to quality healthcare coverage.

To learn more about our MyHEALTH Hong Kong packages, check out the full benefits schedule or request a personalised quote today.