Relocation Fact File: Hong Kong
The majority of corporate expatriates find employment in Hong Kong’s financial sector, especially investment banking. Expats also regularly find opportunities in the fields of IT, digital advertising, human resources and the legal sphere.
Personal income tax is capped at a rate of 17%. Another great component of Hong Kong’s tax system is the ease in which it is administered. An individual can file their taxes in less than ten minutes, with minimal assistance. It is regarded as one of the most efficient tax systems in the world.
Visa requirements are not as stringent as in many other countries. Further, forms can be completed in English. A variety of companies are also available to assist expatriates with applying for the appropriate visa for Hong Kong.
Generally, work permits are easy to come by if expats can prove they don’t have a criminal record, that they have a high level of education or possess a highly specialised skill set that isn’t readily available locally and will be of value to the local market.
However, it is necessary for all expats who are not from Mainland China and who are not graduates of a Hong Kong university to have a job contract and an employer sponsor prior to applying for a work permit.
Accommodation in Hong Kong is expensive. According to a CNBC report, real estate prices in Hong Kong are the second highest in the world, only behind the Principality of Monaco.
Expats living farther from the central business district can typically find more reasonable rent, but will have a longer commute to work. On a positive note, Hong Kong possesses a comprehensive public transport system, making a personal vehicle more of a luxury than a necessity as cars can be in places such as the Middle East.
Costs of Living:
The cost of living in Hong Kong can be high for expats. Listed third in Mercer’s 2014 Cost of Living report, the “Pearl of the Orient” has an extremely overinflated real estate market, which makes finding accommodation an expensive endeavour to start with.
Add to that the fact that the majority of produce and commodities have to be imported. Expatriates tend to find that the necessities of life are generally more expensive in Hong Kong than in other global cities. Nevertheless, high expat salaries tend to offset these costs, and many find their quality of life is higher than it was back home.
Hong Kong is a place that lives by the motto, “work hard, play hard.” The city thrives on perpetuating and amplifying its bustling urban energy. There are always restaurants to dine in, bars to drink in, clubs to dance in and attractions to enjoy.
Private Schooling Fees:
Hong Kong has a variety of private international schools, which vary in curriculum and teaching style. Most international schools use an English-based curriculum and tend to be separated into the British, American, Canadian and International Baccalaureate (IB) programs.
International school tuition can be quite high, reaching as high as US$23,600 a year for a grade 12 education. Additional costs can include a non-refundable application fee, a reservation fee- which can be up to half of the annual tuition- and an annual capital levy.
Aptly dubbed Asia’s World City, roughly 7% of Hong Kong’s total population is comprised of expatriates. Three of the most numerically prominent nationalities are from the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand, who come to Hong Kong to fulfil roles in the domestic and service sectors. The remaining expat population is something of a cultural melting-pot, with France, South Korea, India, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, and Pakistan each representing between 2% and 4% of the total expat population.
Hong Kong is more than a concrete jungle or one of the world’s leading financial hubs. It is a location where excitement can be had if desired, or peace and calm if that is wanted instead. Anything and everything can be found on this enchanting island. The “Pearl of the Orient” can offer a once-in-a-lifetime atmosphere and lifestyle that many expatriates can find too tempting to resist.