Relocation and Housing
When relocating to Hong Kong, a key decision to be made is whether you should transport much of your furniture and belongings to your new home or not. Moving to Hong Kong enables both options, as oversees transportation is a service commonly offered by companies specialized in international relocations for individuals and families. Meanwhile, new furniture of all price classes can also be found in any of the city’s major warehouses, as well as on both websites and social media platforms used for second-hand retailing.
The easiest way to find accommodation is to use one of Hong Kong's real estate agents. Both the renter and the renter pay for the agent’s services. Most leases are signed for 2 years with the right to terminate after 12 months.
Expatriate housing in Hong Kong generally falls into one of two categories: High-rise apartment blocks and low-rise townhouses. Single-family, detached housing that is common in the US and Western Europe is scarce. Generally, expat apartments (flats) range from 80 to 260 square meter.
While the convenience of living in a central area attracts many newly arrived residents, so does the ability to live in relaxed environments close to nature. Largely due the to the efficient and modern transport infrastructure of Hong Kong, living in the city often offers the ability to balance the two, as frequent connections with Mass Transit Railway and Bus Services allows efficient ways of commuting between different areas of the city.
Due to the generally high application pressure, as well as high prices of International schooling, school becomes an area of major consideration for families arriving in the city. The public schools are free, but most non-cantonese speaking children attend one of Hong Kong's many international schools, where fees often span between 130.000 - 250.000+ HKD per child per year are common. On top of that you also often pay extra for debenture, computers, school uniforms and activities.
As application pressure on the schools is usually high, it can be good to apply well in advance, and to several schools, to be sure of getting a spot. Most schools offer school bus services across Hong Kong, but many families await a school acceptance before deciding on where to live. It is quite common (unless the employer supports via a relocation agent) to take help from so-called school consultants who help with application documents, book meetings, pre-tests, references, etc.
The Swedish School in Hong Kong offers supplementary classes in Swedish for children from the age of 6, two lesson hours a week.
Hong Kong has many world-class hospitals and medical facilities. Doctors, dentists, and other medical professionals are often trained overseas, bringing the latest techniques and treatments back with them.
In public hospitals, charges for medical services depends on certain “eligibility” criteria, where “eligible” individuals are subject to charges far lower than those without such status. Only patients falling into the following categories are eligible for the rates of charges applicable to "Eligible Persons":
- Holders of Hong Kong Identity Card issued under the Registration of Persons Ordinance (Chapter 177), except those who obtained their Hong Kong Identity Card by virtue of previous permission to land or remain in Hong Kong granted to them and such permission has expired or ceased to be valid;
- children who are Hong Kong residents and under 11 years of age; or
- other persons approved by the Chief Executive of the Hospital Authority.