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Moving to HK in September with my wife and 2-year old son

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Stockholm
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    Moving to HK in September with my wife and 2-year old son

    This is my first post in this forum, and I would really appreciate any help I can get.

    My company is opening an office in Hong Kong (Central) and I have been asked and accepted to relocate there permanently after the summer (late August or early September). I have a pregnant wife (due date in late November) and a 2-year old son, we are Swedish and are currently living in Sweden.

    The company policy for relocation is that I get a lump sum to cover the moving costs, and then I will have to sort out the rest myself. The company will not pay for anything basically, but I have received a salary increase to cover for the extra costs.

    I have a ton of questions:
    1. LIVING. I want to live in a nice area for my family and at the same time not have too long commuting time for me to work. Our budget is around 70k/month for the apartment and we have been recommended Repulse Bay by some acquaintances. Any other recommendations?
    2. GIVING BIRTH. Since my wife is already pregnant I would assume it is too late to get an insurance to cover anything so we are prepared to pay for it ourselves. But which hospital is the best? We have contacted Matilda but they are already fully booked in November... Any advice regarding hospital and/or insurance? We will need insurance for the whole family, so perhaps we can get some kind of package price?
    3. NANNY. We want to find a good English speaking nanny as soon as possible. How much does that usually cost, and how do we find one? Do they normally expect to live in your apartment? This is completely new to us so.
    4. PRE-SCHOOL. My son was born in February 2010 so he is going to be 2,5 years old in September. We want to put him in a good International school, perhaps a Montessori school, close to where we live. The most important thing is that he is in a caring and playful environment.
    5. MOVING THINGS. We need to ship all our furniture from Sweden to Hong Kong. Can anyone recommend a company in Hong Kong that can facilitate that?

    My wife and I are going on a scouting trip to HK in June, and the more questions we can find answers to before that, the better.

    Thanks in advance!


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Wanchai
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    I can answer the question about the nanny. Minimum wage is 3750 hkd a month and they would probably expect to live with you unless you can find one with permanent residency, otherwise it would be illegal to employ them. All filipina and the large majority of Indonesians speak fluent English


  3. #3

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Also you can try Santa Fe for the relocation company in terms of shipping your furniture.


  4. #4

    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Stockholm
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    Thanks Trebor, that is very quick!


  5. #5

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    13,154

    Accommodation : with a generous budget you will have a lot of choice. I like where I live Happy Valley. Its close to everything including many schools, shops and hospitals. Some people love the south side (and Repulse Bay) but I hate it due to its distance away from everything else. You wont know what you will like till you get here so you will see in June.

    Birth: Hospitals are easier to book by doctors who work there. Its best to get here as early as you can and pick a doctor that can help you with hospitals. There is absolutely nothing wrong with public hospitals either and it will be a choice open to you.

    Nanny : Anywhere from $4000HKD per month (a domestic helper) to $30,000 per month for a proper UK educated nanny. Most people pick the cheaper option.

    PreSchool : If you live in a central area like Happy Valley, you will have a dozen choices within a 10 minute taxi ride. If you live in a relatively remote area like Repulse Bay you will only have 1 or 2 choices and they will be harder to get into. You need to come and see, there is a lot of variation.

    Moving Things: Be careful what you ship. Apartments here are much smaller than anywhere else. Chances are that your furniture just wont fit. Consider leaving most things and start fresh here. It will be a lot less hassle.


  6. #6

    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Stockholm
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    Thanks Howard!


  7. #7

    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Hong Kong
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    1,856

    I would double check when airlines will last allow your wife to fly - I think many don't allow in last 3 months of pregnancy?


  8. #8

    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Midlevels / USA (MD) / London
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    Usually it's the last 4-6 weeks they won't let them fly, but they may require a doctors note in the last three month saying it is ok. FWIW one of the major complications with flying when pregnant (besides feeling like a whale in a sardine can) is the potential for dehydration, which can bring about premature labor. You need to be sure she is drinking quite a bit of water on the flight. I think I saw a recommendation of 12 fluid ounces (the size of a Coke can) per hour in the air.

    As for where to live, $70k will put you in some of the nice expat buildings. Areas like Repulse Bay are nice, but for me personally the road to Central is a mixed bag, and some nights you have idiots in Ferrarri's and Lambo's racing down the road roaring like a jet plane (can get quite annoying).

    Other areas would include Happy Valley, Jardines Lookout, Midlevels (Eastern, Central and Western) which are all pretty close for work.

    Tutor Time and Woodlands are two private pre-school options for your children. They are spread all over the island so if you live at the Peak you have a choice of say Woodlands Peak and if you live in Midlevels you can try Woodlands Midlevels, etc.

    Santa Fe and Tiger are two moving companies on this end many expats use. You probably have a half-dozen moving companies in Sweden (pick the biggest two or three) and call them to set up a quote. They'll probably work with Santa Fe or Tiger on this end.

    If at all possible, can you do a recon week out here to see places on the ground? Also if possible, strongly recommend a corporate serviced apartment for the first few weeks / month so you can get a lay of the land. Renting off the Internet sight unseen is fraught with problems.

    香港房地產網|ä½å® æ”¾ç›¤|物業按揭|搵 樓租樓
    Hong Kong Property, Apartments, Homes, Real Estate for Sale, rent and lease - Square Foot

    Those will give you some price ideas on housing.

    Swede42 likes this.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    Birth: I realise that it's important for a husband to be there during a birth, but in this case given that your entire family support structure is probably in Sweden, and that your wife is probably comfortable with the way the medical system works there, then a serious option to consider would be fore her to stay there for the birth.

    Don't get me wrong- the medical system in HK is great for childbirth (apparently one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world) but the private system is crazy-expensive and the public system may be a bit of a cultural shock to someone who doesn't need to be dealing with any additional stress right now.

    The private system is the one that does all the hand-holding and nice cushy private wards. But there is incredibly fierce competition for ward space because of the influx of Mainland mothers who want to get residency for their children- basically you have to secure a bed space within several weeks of confirming pregnancy otherwise you're out of luck and will spend a lot of effort running around trying to get an OB to wrangle bed space.

    On the other hand, if your wife is very practical, down to earth and low-stress about childbirth, the public system could well be fine for a new arrival.

    Last edited by jgl; 05-05-2012 at 01:35 PM.
    Swede42 likes this.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    44
    Quote Originally Posted by Swede42:
    5. MOVING THINGS. We need to ship all our furniture from Sweden to Hong Kong. Can anyone recommend a company in Hong Kong that can facilitate that?
    we used a company called modul transport (www.modultransport.dk) to ship less than containerload from scandinavia to hk. they crated our stuff and handled all the paperwork at both ends very efficiently and their hk partner delivered to door. as per previous suggestions, you might reconsider shipping furniture though.

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