Moving from Dubai to HK

Moving to Hong Kong

In Moving Guides by Steven Kane

Capital City: Hong Kong
Population: 7.4 Million
Language(s): Cantonese / English
Currency: Hong Kong Dollar (HK$)
GDP per capita: USD 58,300 (2016)
Drives on the: Left
Time: GMT +8
Internet domain: .hk
International dialling code: +852

We are pleased to provide you with our guide on moving to Hong Kong from Dubai, UAE. Please make note of the special links at the foot of this page.

From 1842 until 1997 Hong Kong was a British colony following the Opium wars with the Qing Empire, which lead to the perpetual cession of Hong Kong Island. The colony expanded to the Kowloon Peninsula in 1860 and eventually a 99-year lease of the New Territories was agreed in 1898. During World War 2, the Japanese briefly occupied Hong Kong, until British control resumed in 1945. In 1997 Britain agreed to transfer the sovereignty of the New Territories along with Hong Kong and Kowloon. At this point Hong Kong became a special administrative region (SAR) of the People’s Republic of China with a high degree of autonomy.

Known as the Pearl of the Orient, Hong Kong is a bustling highly dense territory; one of the world’s leading economies and a major regional hub where East truly does meet West.

Expats in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a fascinating balance of a rich, traditional past combined with a technically advanced outlook aimed squarely towards the future. Westerners who are new to Hong Kong, may be familiar with many aspects of life, while others aspects may seem entirely foreign. On the whole, many expats find adjusting to life relatively easy, with its efficient infrastructure and amenities. Entertainment and safety levels (especially low crime) make Hong Kong a very attractive place to live and work.

However there are obstacles; expat packages and remuneration is not at the high levels it was 10 or 15 years ago, and when combined with the rising cost of living, opportunities for a lot of expats to move to Hong Kong and flourish have become more limited.

Traffic is a major problem in this densely populated area. There are well over 500,000 registered cars and owning/using a car is expensive and challenging especially when it comes to finding somewhere to park. Fortunately the public transport system is efficient, clean and cheap.

Hong Kong has a subtropical climate, which means warm humid summers, which are subject to occasional showers and thunderstorms. Winters are mild with many days starting bright and sunny with rain frequently falling in the afternoon and evening. Spring tends to be quite changeable and finally autumn which tends to be drier. The city has an average annual temperature of 23 C. Typhoons are possible, especially during September.

Cost of living
A meal at a standard restaurant can range between USD 12-20 per person with a beer priced around USD 6-9 and soft drinks around USD 1.50 per can. A reasonable bottle of wine costs approximately USD 20-25 and a coffee typically sets you back around USD 4-5

At the local supermarkets a loaf of bread is priced around USD 2.50, a litre of milk approximately USD 3 and a dozen eggs roughly USD 3-3.50

Public transport is very good with monthly passes at around USD 60. Taxis start around is USD 3 and then around USD 1 per kilometer thereafter. Petrol is around USD 2.10 per litre.

Accommodation is generally expensive. A typical 1-2 bedroom apartment would be approximately USD 2,000-3,000 per month. A 3-bedroom house would start around USD 4,000. The choice is plentiful so prices can vary of course.

Basic utilities for an average two-bedroom apartment will be around USD 170 per month. Prepaid mobile phone charges are relatively cheap at approximately USD 0.10 per minutes and broadband Internet is roughly USD 30 per month.

The standard of education in Hong Kong is generally regarded as very good. Public schools or government funded offering children the chance to have free education some classes are conducted in English however public schools be recommended for children who speak Cantonese fluently since this is the language under which most of the curriculum is taught.

It is further to say the vast majority of expat children in Hong Kong will need to be enrolled into private International schools. Fortunately there are a large number of institutions which cater two the American and British curricula as well as the International baccalaureate. There are also schools which deal with French and Spanish.

The two major factors, which need to be considered for any expat family moving to Hong Kong is firstly the waiting list. Limited places and competition for those places by affluent, local families mean pre planning at the earliest opportunity is essential.  Secondly fees are high and in some cases extremely high. If your remuneration does not include school fees this is a major cost, which must be taken into account.

In order to home-school children the only thing that is certain is that you will need to inform the Hong Kong education bureau. Laws regarding home-schooling are very however it is possible to contact a local home-schooling organisation in order to receive clarification and guidance.

Healthcare in Hong Kong, like its economy and education, is first rate. Public and private hospitals both maintain highly trained staff, many of which are multilingual, in addition to world-class equipment and medical technology. This comes at a price, however, and expats are strongly advised to have sufficient medical insurance.

The major difference between public and private healthcare relates to preferential treatment and higher quality amenities.

Anyone who possesses a Hong Kong identity card qualifies for subsidised healthcare however even the reduced charges can see the final bill mount up. Most expats decide to use one of the 15 private international hospitals since the overall costs are sometimes not much more than public healthcare with the added benefits of even better amenities, privacy and shorter waiting times.

There are a wide variety of healthcare plans available and you may find your employer is willing to cover this in full or at least contribute in part to the annual fee.

Moving Documents Required
When moving to Hong Kong from Dubai, importation of Household Goods and Personal Effects

  • Copy of passport
  • Detailed Packing list
  • Owner of the goods – Full contact details in Hong Kong (address, phone, fax, email)
  • Bill of lading / AWB

Useful links;

Note: This document is provided as a guide for people moving to Hong Kong from Dubai, UAE and for information purposes only. Customs regulations can and do change at any time, usually without notice. Your mover will provide you with more information.