Hong Kong is known for its long history of welcoming foreign workers and vibrant business community. It’s a popular place to find work for expatriates, particularly those who specialize within the financial sector. If you are one of many who are considering moving to the area, it’s important to start scouting for a good apartment in Hong Kong long before your flight. Accommodation can be competitive, just like the local job market. Here’s a quick guide to what you can expect once you start living in Hong Kong.
Is Hong Kong a Nice Place for Foreigners?
Despite its small size, Hong Kong is a very wealthy area and has plenty of modern-day luxuries. Feel free to enjoy its wide variety of high-end malls and shopping options, world-class restaurants, and luxury apartment complexes. You may need to prepare yourself for all the people. Hong Kong is the world’s fourth most densely populated city and it can be difficult to find a place to live. Make sure that you find a safe place to stay before you move.
The COVID-19 Situation
By and large, Hong Kong has avoided the worst of the pandemic. Many attribute this to the area’s quick implementation of health and security measures. The government was quick to implement quarantining, mask-wearing, and remote work policies. In addition, Hong Kong also has free mass testing and vaccinations for all of its residents. It is highly likely that it will continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic in a proactive manner, especially because the East Asia region has had its experiences dealing with outbreaks like the SARS outbreak in the past.
Finding a Place to Stay
One of the biggest struggles most expats face when relocating to Hong Kong is finding a place to stay. Good accommodation won’t come cheap in this city and foreigners need to mentally prepare for the stress that is associated with rent and other costs of living here. If you have the budget to stay in or around the exclusive Peak area, three-bedroom apartments usually cost more than $100,000 HKD or roughly $12,700 USD per month. But if you are looking for more cost-efficient alternatives, head over to Kowloon or the New Territories. Here, the properties offer a more affordable price tag of $30,000 HKD or around $3,800 USD. In areas where there are plenty of expatriates, such as the Mid-Levels on Hong Kong Island or Discovery Bay, the price tag for a three-bedroom apartment falls between $40,000 to $50,000 HKD, or $5,000 to $6,300 USD. It’s a little pricier because these locations are close to expat schools and communities.
Healthcare and Health Insurance
The Hong Kong government provides public healthcare services at an affordable price for all residents of the area, including expatriates. You are free to pursue private health insurance if you want more extensive coverage. All you need to prepare is a valid visa and a Hong Kong ID card. One question most foreigners ponder is whether private health insurance is worth it. To help you decide, a few of the advantages of private insurance is the multilingual staff. This helps foster better communication, which is so important when it comes to health concerns. In addition, those with private insurance will be catered to in some of Hong Kong’s best hospitals. Another strong advantage to private insurance is dental care. Only students and civil servants get free dental care here unless you are facing an extreme emergency situation.
Job Opportunities for Foreigners
Hong Kong is known as an international hub for finance, technology, and commerce, With that, said, job opportunities are in abundance. However, there is so much global talent moving into this region regularly that the competition for most of these jobs is incredibly fierce. To avoid the stress of landing in Hong Kong and fighting to assert yourself in such a cut-throat job market, it is best to have a job contract before moving to the area. Industries that are currently high in demand within Hong Kong include banking and finance, advertising, IT, teaching, and human resources. Make sure to research thoroughly all the job opportunities you encounter online and verify their authenticity before investing in any further action so that you don’t get scammed on the internet.
Opening a Bank Account and Tax Management
Since Hong Kong is a major financial hub, it’s only fair to expect that opening a bank account is a straightforward process. And it is! All you need to do is choose which bank you want to open an account in. Most of the banks here offer their services in English. Your visa status will not have an impact on your capacity to open an account, but you do need to be in Hong Kong to complete the process. In terms of taxes, Hong Kong rates are fairly low. As is the case when staying in another country, it is always best to keep close track of your finances so that you avoid overspending or running out.