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Moving to HK with the current situation..need advice

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  1. #31

    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Posts
    44
    Quote Originally Posted by aggie822
    We are a family of 4 with a planned move to HK due to work in 2020.
    We are aware of the protests and not very encouraging..

    Need some thoughts on these
    To try to give you a more useful answer, could you provide us a bit of background? what industry does you and your husband work in? what age are you kids? without these information, this thread is likely to hijacked by views of the current political situation…

    What you need to consider:

    HK never was a cheap/easy place to live in with 4 kids. Since you ask the question, I can only assume you are not speaking Cantonese and you will likely want to have you kids at an international school, and those are crazy expensive here. With that said, since protest started, I see a lot of expat leaving HK (contradicting some posters here), meaning that at least there will be more seats available in those schools (if those schools do not run in trouble to find teachers that is…), but that also means that tuition will only get higher, not lower. So be prepared for that.

    HK economy wasn't in very good state before the protests, and it took a serious toll since then. You have to consider that if you are moving in here, you will likely be on a work visa, meaning: "bound to one employer", how is that employer going to handle the current crisis/recession? How financially sound/stable is this employer, and what are their long term plans in HK?

    If your plan is to move here to then find new opportunities, do bear in mind that the economy is now in recession, less opportunities are available, and depending on your industry you will have to compete with more local candidates who 1) don't need a visa, 2) take a much lower pay, 3) are already local and generally easier to work with for local companies (even foreign companies HR favor local over expats for many reasons). Generally speaking, projects and new hires are mostly frozen for now and until further notices.

    Accommodation is notoriously very expensive in Hong Kong, and a family of 4 will require quite a large housing (so even more expensive). While I do tend to see more restraint in the rental being suddenly increased by landlords these days (yes, this is a real thing in HK, they can and will increase heavily the rental after the first year or so…), I also don't see a dramatic decrease in rental around here… This may change with the protests, as more and more foreigners (including mainlanders) move out of the city, since their presence here is one of the driving force of housing price inflation… (albeit, not the only one)…

    From a safety point of view, here again, it will depend on where you live, where you are from, and what you will do in here… it's anyone's guess what the situation will be tomorrow, let alone in 6 months time… If I base my assumptions on today's situation, as long as you don't partake in any protest, don't go near them, don't voice too much your discontent about situation here, and don't need to cross an angry mob for any reason (including police), you should be safe… but any of this can change very quickly… (For instance, I was called by the school to go fetch my kids because police were throwing tear gases nearby, and had to cross both rioters&police on a bike to fetch my kids around there because transports&roads were being blocked, it was only once, and I did not suffer more inconvenience than that, but it could have been much worse)…

    Another thing to consider here is the environment you want your kids to grow in… HK is getting more and more influenced/controlled by China government, the "freedom" enjoyed is getting more and more restrained, and the trend is very unlikely to reverse at this point… China is committed to strengthen their grasp on HK, putting indoctrination to a next level… (examples of this include the currently-still-being-discussed obligation for schools to sing the Chinese anthem, even for foreign schools, and the "sanctuarization" of the anthem, making it a legal offence to alter/joke/discuss the anthem for kids, who then face legal consequences, including jail time… this is just one example in a very long list here…).

    The point is that the overall environment is getting more and more like a police state, with heavy control of both media and education (indoctrination by the CCP). This is clearly a goal of the BJ government and will not be soften in any way in the coming years (just look at the news where CCP vows to increase patriotism in education, and "fix" the hong kong legal system…).

    I am not saying you can not live happy in this kind of environment, some definitely do, I am merely pointing that this is, indeed, such an environment… How well you will do in this entirely depend on you…

    With all those negative aspects mentioned (and the list can go on), HK still retains a lot of good points (low taxes, - at least for now - great education, perfect location in Asia for accessing Asia, opportunities to access Chinese Markets for companies, reasonably westernized life style, etc…).

    I hope that help.

  2. #32

    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    237

    A friend of mine (+wife & 2 kids) decided to relocate to HK recently (from Tokyo). For him the pull is low salary tax, 0 capital gain tax, domestic help culture. Don't think those three factors will change anytime soon so if those are also on your checklist...


  3. #33

    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Posts
    3
    Quote Originally Posted by goutnet
    To try to give you a more useful answer, could you provide us a bit of background? what industry does you and your husband work in? what age are you kids? without these information, this thread is likely to hijacked by views of the current political situation…

    What you need to consider:

    HK never was a cheap/easy place to live in with 4 kids. Since you ask the question, I can only assume you are not speaking Cantonese and you will likely want to have you kids at an international school, and those are crazy expensive here. With that said, since protest started, I see a lot of expat leaving HK (contradicting some posters here), meaning that at least there will be more seats available in those schools (if those schools do not run in trouble to find teachers that is…), but that also means that tuition will only get higher, not lower. So be prepared for that.

    HK economy wasn't in very good state before the protests, and it took a serious toll since then. You have to consider that if you are moving in here, you will likely be on a work visa, meaning: "bound to one employer", how is that employer going to handle the current crisis/recession? How financially sound/stable is this employer, and what are their long term plans in HK?

    If your plan is to move here to then find new opportunities, do bear in mind that the economy is now in recession, less opportunities are available, and depending on your industry you will have to compete with more local candidates who 1) don't need a visa, 2) take a much lower pay, 3) are already local and generally easier to work with for local companies (even foreign companies HR favor local over expats for many reasons). Generally speaking, projects and new hires are mostly frozen for now and until further notices.

    Accommodation is notoriously very expensive in Hong Kong, and a family of 4 will require quite a large housing (so even more expensive). While I do tend to see more restraint in the rental being suddenly increased by landlords these days (yes, this is a real thing in HK, they can and will increase heavily the rental after the first year or so…), I also don't see a dramatic decrease in rental around here… This may change with the protests, as more and more foreigners (including mainlanders) move out of the city, since their presence here is one of the driving force of housing price inflation… (albeit, not the only one)…

    From a safety point of view, here again, it will depend on where you live, where you are from, and what you will do in here… it's anyone's guess what the situation will be tomorrow, let alone in 6 months time… If I base my assumptions on today's situation, as long as you don't partake in any protest, don't go near them, don't voice too much your discontent about situation here, and don't need to cross an angry mob for any reason (including police), you should be safe… but any of this can change very quickly… (For instance, I was called by the school to go fetch my kids because police were throwing tear gases nearby, and had to cross both rioters&police on a bike to fetch my kids around there because transports&roads were being blocked, it was only once, and I did not suffer more inconvenience than that, but it could have been much worse)…

    Another thing to consider here is the environment you want your kids to grow in… HK is getting more and more influenced/controlled by China government, the "freedom" enjoyed is getting more and more restrained, and the trend is very unlikely to reverse at this point… China is committed to strengthen their grasp on HK, putting indoctrination to a next level… (examples of this include the currently-still-being-discussed obligation for schools to sing the Chinese anthem, even for foreign schools, and the "sanctuarization" of the anthem, making it a legal offence to alter/joke/discuss the anthem for kids, who then face legal consequences, including jail time… this is just one example in a very long list here…).

    The point is that the overall environment is getting more and more like a police state, with heavy control of both media and education (indoctrination by the CCP). This is clearly a goal of the BJ government and will not be soften in any way in the coming years (just look at the news where CCP vows to increase patriotism in education, and "fix" the hong kong legal system…).

    I am not saying you can not live happy in this kind of environment, some definitely do, I am merely pointing that this is, indeed, such an environment… How well you will do in this entirely depend on you…

    With all those negative aspects mentioned (and the list can go on), HK still retains a lot of good points (low taxes, - at least for now - great education, perfect location in Asia for accessing Asia, opportunities to access Chinese Markets for companies, reasonably westernized life style, etc…).

    I hope that help.
    that was a good one, gautnet!

    we are europeans, also expats in the middle east for the last 10 years and the opportunity to move to Asia region is considered as"refreshing for the much needed change - personal and career-wise"
    kids are in primary years
    hubby is working for a european construction firm with presence in the asia pacific region, while, i am an engineering consultant

    your advice are seriously being processed together with the others that we had in the last 6 months that seems to be still raw for us until now...

  4. #34

    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Posts
    44

    ok, so for your personal case:

    - Engineering consultant: well that's a hard one, I can tell that engineering here is lowly paid… the work culture in local company is quite special (and frankly not ideal). International companies are better, but fewer, and there isn't much of a demand there (again, remember most HR will favor local hires instead of going for expats, but at least, since your hubby would get a work visa, you would then be working on dependent visa which is not tied to a company… so, there's that) Frankly speaking, most hires of European are done through networking/referrals, so be prepared to first set a good network in place, or to be looking for position for an extended period.

    - Construction Firm: definitely China is a very important market in construction, and I do see a few offers here and there for construction engineering/project management, so the demand exists. With that said, like other sectors, I see most of the firms moving to either mainland China (Shenzhen), or simply out of it… not sure where this is going as I am not in this field though…

    - Kids in primary years: I find the local education for young kids fantastic (albeit very expensive), I would never find such high quality back where I am from (I am French), and this was one of the deciding factor for us to come living in HK. There is also a wide variety of activities available for kids, and that also is a great point. With that being said, everything tends to be on expensive side, and if you don't have a helper here, you will be running everywhere all the time to fetch your kids from/to school/activites etc… working at the same time (if no helper) is going to be quite challenging… not to mention the fact that school hours are weird in HK, with your usual primary school finishing around 2pm… (check which school you are targeting).

    I guess, the best advice I could come with is: do come in HK for some time, spend like 2~3 weeks or so here if you can, try to get an idea of the local way of life, and see if you like it. This would help you much more than getting a random decision only based on silly forum posters like me

    bbchris, shri and aggie822 like this.

  5. #35

    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    5

    ME to HK

    We too were ex ME (Dubai and Oman), the biggest shock to HK is the expense of owning a car.

    Compared to the ME cars here in HK are a little more expensive new, and about the same used.

    However it is parking that is mind numbingly expensive. To park at work (Central) is 4k HKD/Month.... and to get a parking space where we live (Nr Kennedy) would all be 4K per month.

    You could (and probably rightly argue) that living so close we do not need a car - and in fact we have survived without. But we do not have 4 kids.


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