Advice much appreciated re moving to/working in Hong Kong!

Hi all, I've just joined the site as I've been admiring it as a source of info for someone who loves Hong Kong for some time!

My wife and I have now been on holiday to Hong Kong three times - once in 2001, once in 2003, and more recently in October 2008. We are now seriously considering moving out to Hong Kong to live and work. Our idea is to move out there for 12 months as a trial period, then to make a decision as to whether we move there permanently, depending on how the first year goes. I'm really after some initial advice on whether this is a realistic idea and how we would go about preparing to make the dream a reality.

For information, my wife currently works as a systems integration developer (so IT based - development etc). She is also a qualified UAT tester.

I on the other hand am an Operations Manager for a large insurance company. The company I work for is a global one and I know there are offices based in HK, so it seems to make sense for me to try and get my employer to sponsor me and have my wife as a dependent.

My concern is that as far as academic qualifications are concerned, I'm not too great - gcse's and a couple of pretty poor A-level results. I do however have some recognised professional qualifications including Certificate in Financial Planning 1 and Investment Administration Qualification. I've been managing people in the financial services industry for around 6 years.  

So - initial thoughts folks? We literally only decided this yesterday over some dim sum in Maxi's (pretty sure that influenced our thinking!).

Thanks in advance! 



re: moving to/working in Hong Kong!

A few thoughts:

  • check our visas page on the off chance any of those can apply to you 
  • think where you both stand on: $$$, career, experience. Ideally you get a position that pays more than you get now, advances your career, and is a fulfilling experience. But you might have to wait a while for that! If you decide that the experience of living in hong Kong is what is most important, and you're willing to take a drop in salary and/or career, more options become available.
  • definitely if you can arrange a move via your existing company, that makes things easier for you. More hassle for your HK office though, so have a long hard think about how you can demonstrate your value to them. (And point 2 comes in again. If you're looking for an expat package, you'd better be very valuable to them. But if you bring some benefits, and make it very clear you are expecting a local package, maybe they'll be more interested?)
  • does your wife work remotely? can she start? Or look at contract work that can be done remotely. I'm thinking if she could develop a line of work where she could prove she was just effective working at your current home, and then working fom home in HK, that could be another option to help pay the bills here while you get started.

Good luck, MrB

Re:Moving to/working in Hong Kong!

Thanks so much for the advice. After doing some checking within my company it appears they don't officially offer sponsorship programs. I'm guessing this is something they would only do on their initiative if the needs of the business required it.

So basically I'm on my own! I still have the opportunity of applying for a job within my company in Hong Kong, as anyone else would but there doesn't appear to be any vacancies at present. My wife on the other hand has more flexibility (and opportunities so it would seem from checking the job pages) in terms of what she could apply for. It may be easier for her to seek employment and for me to go over initially as her dependant.

I've also noticed a vast majority of jobs advertised in Hong Kong state a degree as a requirement - what is everyone's experience in this area? Is this just an advantage to have or will I really struggle to get a working visa/employment without one?

Thanks again for all your help & advice!


Re:Moving to/working in Hong Kong!

If you are responding to job ads where a degree is a stated requirement, there's a fair chance that HR will be using that as one of their screens. No degree - then the application goes the bin.

If you've been offered a job as a result of meeting someone that thinks you'd be right for the job, paper qualifications won't be such an issue.

It'll be good to develop some contacts at your HK office, so you can meet them when you first arrive. Even if they can't offer you any work in their office, they would be well placed to tell you of opportunities in other companies, and of any agencies that specialise in your field.

Good luck, MrB