Expat Guide: Moving Your Family to Hong Kong

Hong Kong is one of the top global cities with a big expat community. It is a great destination for expats with families because it has low crime rate, excellent schools and good career opportunities. Despite being one of the most expensive cities to live in it still can be rewarding for individuals and for families because of the unique experiences in the country.  Moving your entire family to Hong Kong can seem daunting but if you plan your relocation early, the transition should be an easy one.

This is a checklist for expats who are planning to bring their families to Hong Kong.  These information should ease you into your transition into the country.

Permanent Residence and Dependent Visa

The person who has the initial intent of moving to Hong Kong needs to obtain a long-term visa or permanent residence for themselves first before applying for a Dependent Visa for their spouse and children under 18. For long-term partners you have the option of applying for Prolonged Visitor visa but you must present proof that you have been in a relationship for over 12 months. It is important to note that visa approval  may not come at the same time for each family member so plan your time accordingly. You can use the Hong Kong Immigration Department site for more information.

Schools and Nursery

The school year is from September to July. Hong Kong is known for having good schools and expats generally choose international schools for their children. The average citizen spends a total of 16 years for their education and the adult literacy rate is 93.5%.There are also public schools that have English-based curriculums. Do your research if you plan on enrolling your kids to these public schools as there may be some false advertisement that claim they teach in English but instead conduct the majority of courses in Cantonese. It is also normal to see private tutors for students because of the competitive nature of Hong Kong schools. Extra curricular learning is also highly encouraged among children so expect offers for music and art lessons from tutoring schools. This means you will have many options for weekend activities for the children. You can use this Hong Kong Search Tool for schools in Hong Kong.

There are plenty of nursery and childcare facilities around the city. The best thing to do when looking for child care arrangements is to compare school reviews and get recommendations from fellow expats. The annual cost for kindergarten and nursery school can range from HK$10,000 to HK$100,000. Feedback from first hand experience is crucial. There are plenty of forum sites such as AsiaXpat orExpat Forum you can turn to for answers.

One final note is that there are long waiting lists for good schools so have multiple options when applying.

Domestic Helpers

Hiring helpers is a norm for Hong Kongers and many expats adapt to this culture. We’ve written a separate blog about the ins and outs of hiring and choosing domestic helpers.

Finding a Place

We’ve also written a blog on expat-recommended areas throughout Hong Kong along with the average cost of rent. You can read the blog here: Expat Guide: Finding a Place in Hong Kong. However, we also recommended going into the forums for more in depth suggestions.

Insurance for the Family

Living in the city is expensive the cost of medical fees and property will continue to soar. While the country offers world-class health care even in public hospitals, what you need to be prepared for are emergencies. Waiting in a public hospital emergency room could mean not having the immediate medical attention you need especially for your children. We recommend that you get a family insurance policy to take care of your worries in such cases.

We can help find flexible, full coverage insurance policies for expats. You can contact Village Insurance Direct here.

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Expat Guide: Being a Contractor in Hong Kong

By definition, a contractor is an independent entity that is with a company or employer to provide a set of services or deliver goods within a specified time frame.

More and more businesses in Hong Kong are opening opportunities for contractual jobs because of the shift in need for more independent workers. Another reason for a greater demand for contractors is that the country has been regarded as a fertile ground for startups which usually work with a skeletal team that are not as capable of affording full time employees and the benefits that are required for such positions. Expats in particular have taken great advantage of these opportunities specifically with tech and B2B startup ventures.

There are two factors that contribute to the appeal of contractual jobs to expats. One is higher earning within a short period and the second is flexibility which allows them to pursue other personal projects while traveling.

Benefits for regular employees and contractors differ. Here is a general guideline:blog_-_table (1)

*Note that a contractor has to enroll in a Mandatory Provident Fund scheme and make contributions on his own.

Info on Mandatory Provident Fund Scheme Ordinance and Employers’ Contribution

What about Insurance?

Regular employees are entitled to Employee Compensation Insurance, which is mandatory for all employers by law. Since contractors are not technically under an employer, you will need to make arrangements for your own financial protection. The recommended policy is a generalLiability Insurance, which can be broken down into several more specific policies that cover different risks.

Contractors need protection from the following risks:

Professional Indemnity: Contractors who provide consulting and advice, such as accountants, financial planners, interior designers and landscape architects, need to be concerned about liability risks due to losses a client may experience as a result of the contractor’s recommendations. Also called “Errors and Omission Insurance.”

Product liabilities: For liability protection with goods or products you produce that may injure a third party.

Total and Permanent Disability: To protect your income in case you are seriously injured or become ill that leaves you incapable to go back to work.

For more information on business and personal insurance needs, contact us at info@villageinsirancedirect.com or fill up the forms in our website for free quotes on insurance.


Zurich Preferred Choice: Tailored Insurance for You & the Family

Our essential needs change as we go through the different stages of life. When we’re young and single we look for career and financial stability. When we get married we look for ways to take care of our spouses and when we have children we become more concerned with their education and their basic needs. And as we grow old we try to ensure that we can enjoy our retirement.

Insurance providers have found ways to give policyholders peace of mind for every type of risk however this also means they have to subscribe to several different plans. Zurich Insurance is now offering a policy that allows changes in benefits as your needs also change. This means you can add or remove a benefit at any time after the first year. The product is Preferred Choice and its terms and conditions are very simple and are available in multiple currencies (USD, HKD, FBP and EUR).

With Preferred Choice you can choose from 13 benefits and combine two or more types of cover. There are four categories of insurance cover that will protect you and your family:

(1) Life Cover

(2) Critical Illness

(3) Total and Permanent Disability

(4) Add-ons

On top of the 4 categories, the insurance holder automatically gets FREE Children Life Cover. The plan even offers discounts of up to 5% if you choose 3 or more applicable benefits or 2.5% for subscribing to two types of covers.

Premiums for Preferred Choice are calculated based on the sum insured and term of the benefits including age, gender, health, occupation and smoker status of the life insured, plus an evaluation of recreational activities. At all times, payment of the regular premium amount must be made in line with the minimum requirements shown below:blog_-_table

*Where more than one core benefit is chosen, the minimum premium for each benefit must be at least HKD200, USD25, GBP17 or EUR20.

The beauty of this policy is that you can be single, married, a solo parent or nearing retirement and you will have multiple options of combinations to give you complete coverage.

Why you need Preferred Choice?

Here are some facts to keep in mind:

  • More than 4 out of every 10 people do not own life insurance policy in any amount. That’s 43 in 100 people have no coverage of any kind.
  • Only 3 out of 10 Hong Kong residents believe they are fully covered by insurance they have chosen.
  • Retirement insurance is higher on the priority list than life insurance for 7 out of 10 households in Hong Kong.
  • Only 4 of 10 households will buy life insurance before age 45, an age where premiums are a lot more expensive.
  • Only 3 out of 10 households in Hong Kong have family insurance that takes care of their children in case one of the parents die.

With these statistics in mind, its apparent that a majority of us are still ill-prepared for risks that could happen in our lifetime. We could fall very ill or get into an accident that leaves us unable to work and make a living. We have to be prepared for everything but more importantly be secure enough to know that our families are well taken care of even if we are not there.

For more information on Preferred Choice, contact us today