Full Guide To Moving From Singapore To Hong Kong

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Hong Kong, officially known as the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, is a city in south China. It has a long history of immigration, diversity, and great opportunity. It is home to 7.5 million people and is one of the most population-dense places in the world.

Coming from a city-state similar to Hong Kong in many ways, relocating from Singapore to Hong Kong could be a big change, but also having a lot of familiar things. They both share a great economy, culture, language, a climate that’s not too far off, and a very high quality of living.

If you are planning to move from Singapore to Hong Kong, let us guide you on what you need to know, and we’ll also share some helpful tips along the way. Let’s get started!

1. What Is Life Like In Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a go-to destination for a lot of people, thanks to having a lot of opportunities. This has made Hong Kong into a very diverse high-rise metropolis, one of the region’s biggest financial centres.

Thanks to national security reforms, the overall crime rates in Hong Kong are considerably low and trending down. During the pandemic, Hong Kong had a very fast reaction time and was able to implement restrictions on usage of masks in public and work-from-home setups.

This is important as the city is very urbanised and dense in population. Now that restrictions are starting to be lifted, the hustle and bustle of the city begin to reawaken and the energy of Hong Kong’s downtown.

Hong Kong, a financial centre and business destination, is very rich. It has a lot of modern amenities, services, high-end shopping malls, amazing restaurants, top-of-the-line condos and apartment buildings.

2. Differences Between The Cost Of Living In Singapore VS Hong Kong

When it comes to the cost of living, there won’t be much of a difference. Both cities rank close to each other in the global list regarding the cost of living. According to two websites, Numbeo and Livingcost, which measure the cost of living of countries in 2022, Singapore and Hong Kong are within a few points of each other.

The currency in Hong Kong is the Hong Kong Dollar, symbolised by HKD. For the past 5 years, the exchange rate between the Singapore Dollar and the Hong Kong Dollar has stayed between 5.35 HKD and 5.99 HKD. The lowest during the middle of the pandemic and the highest in 2018.

Based on current prices, the cost of living in Singapore is 13% higher than that in Hong Kong, excluding rent. This is mainly due to groceries and local purchasing power being greater in Singapore. However, when you factor in rental and housing costs, Hong Kong has lower prices, evening things out.

Based on the numbers, you won’t need to adjust your lifestyle too much. If you stick within your budget and familiarise yourself with what to prioritise in your spending.

city skyline during night time

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3. Rental Costs In Hong Kong And How They Compare

As mentioned, rental costs in Singapore are higher than in Hong Kong, so this might be a place where you can get more value for spending more or less the same.

A one-bedroom apartment will cost a minimum of 12,800 HKD and will go as high as 20,350 HKD depending on how close you are to the city centre.

If you are looking for a bigger space for your family, a three-bedroom apartment outside the city centre starts at 23,500 HKD and can go up to 26,000 HKD. A three-bedroom near the city centre can get expensive, starting at around 35,500 HKD and going as high as 41,000 HKD.

Based on current market values, these prices are 10 to 18% lower than similar rentals in Singapore.

4. Diving Into The Hong Kong Job Market

If you are relocating to Hong Kong, chances are you also have employment waiting for you or that you are looking to get employed. Well, that’s no problem, as Hong Kong has a treasure trove of opportunities waiting.

A study by Randstad, a Human Resource services company, listed the 20 most attractive employers in Hong Kong for the year 2022. The survey shows which companies are perceived by workers as the “most attractive”. The list included: Swire Properties, Hong Kong Jockey Club, CLP Power Hong Kong, HK Electric, and Hong Kong Disneyland.

However, since these are based on worker perception, there’s a bit of room for open interpretation. GreatPlaceToWork.com, a website that awards businesses with certifications for being a great place to work, lists the following companies in Hong Kong which have the most outstanding working environments:

  • Insight Enterprises Hong Kong
  • DHL Express Hong Kong
  • Tata Communications Hong Kong Ltd

In addition to these lists and recognition, you should also take note that for years the Government has been actively pursuing economic development in many different aspects. Still, there are four key industries that have a particular focus on financial services, tourism, trading and logistics, and professional and producer services.

These are recognised as those that truly drive the economy of Hong Kong. So, if you are looking for employment or a career to transition into, these may start as a guide on what you might consider pursuing. Also, you should note that if you get hired, always secure your contract with your new employer before making any big decisions.

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5. Amazing Neighbourhoods To Stay Call Your New Home

Though it’s easy to think of Hong Kong as a mostly homogenous community due to its smaller size, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Due to it being a go-to destination for many nationals, Hong Kong is very diverse and multicultural.

Thanks to the many nationalities that live in Hong Kong, you can often find little pocket communities within communities. These are factors you ought to consider when choosing which neighbourhood to live in, other than whether it is a city centre or a quiet suburb.

Here are some places you might want to consider:

Mid-Levels is a very popular neighbourhood for both locals and expats. The Mid-levels are further divided into four areas, West, Central, East, and North, which also have their own personality and micro-cultures. The area is great because of its proximity to many modern amenities and shops, as well as having many apartment complexes.

Pok Fu Lam is an excellent choice to live in, thanks to its location. It is very close to both the downtown and the beaches of the south. Pok Fu Lam is an older neighbourhood, but there are several nice apartments as well as amenities that are common in modern cities.

North Point is another excellent choice for expats, especially since the pricing in this neighbourhood is more affordable than in other parts of Hong Kong. North Point is more of a suburb with no big mall complexes. However, supermarkets, restaurants, and other shops are still available.

The Peak is one of the most affluent spots in Hong Kong and perhaps the highest in elevation, as its name suggests. The buildings in the area are excellent, offering several amenities you’d expect from a more pricey neighbourhood. There’s also a height restriction when it comes to buildings to ensure that the amazing views are preserved.

Sai Kung is the better choice if you are looking for a place that can offer you a bit of distance from the noise and rush of city living. Sai Kung also has the added benefit of being near beaches, which is why it’s also a choice destination for many people who want outdoor adventures and water-based activities.

6. Entry Requirements To Hong Kong

There are a few reasons why a person would wish to live in Hong Kong, be that to study, vacation, work, or retire. A Singapore citizen with a Singapore passport may stay in Hong Kong visa-free for up to 90 days.

Applying for permanent residency requires someone to live in Hong Kong for at least seven years. So, if you plan on becoming a full-time resident, a working Visa will be the best choice.

Applying for a work visa in Hong Kong will fall under the General Employment Policy(GEP), which has several work visa categories that can be applied for. The most common of these include:

  • Technology talent admission scheme
  • Quality migrant admission scheme

There are different types of visas depending on the type of work you will be pursuing once in Hong Kong, and these are just a few under the GEP.

To be eligible for consideration, you should have the following:

  • Graduate Degree
  • Professional experience
  • Confirmed offer of employment
  • Proof from the employer of no local being able to fill the position

Finally, to apply for the Visa, you will need the following at the minimum:

  1. Completed Visa application form
  2. Singapore passport with at least 6 months validity and two blank visa pages
  3. Recent passport-size photo
  4. Bank statements from the last three months
  5. Original letter of invitation or proof of employment from your employer

Depending on the type of Visa you are applying for (work, study, training, investment, etc.), you may be required to supply additional documents.

Note: When travelling to Hong Kong, be sure that you are updated with the latest Covid travel restriction, which is better viewed on their official website as the guidelines are constantly changing.

7. Expat Communities Within Hong Kong You Can Connect With

It’s normal to need an adjustment period when moving to a new city. Despite their many similarities, moving from Singapore to Hong Kong, one can still feel culture shock and might need a little help finding your footing.

That’s why there are Expat communities within communities in Hong Kong. These groups will tend to host social events such as gatherings in restaurants, bars, galleries, and local holidays and festivals.

Thanks to the internet and social media availability, you can even find these groups online. With forums and message boards, you can communicate with other expats and see any future scheduled events. Online forums are also a great way to dip your toe in the water before joining in on any live events if you are not sure yet.

Who knows, in time, maybe you will be the one to host an event!

8. Engage With A Professional To Make Your Move So Much Easier

Moving to a new country will have all sorts of challenges. That’s why you should make the most of your trip and reduce the stress wherever possible. Partnering with a professional moving company like Sanelo ensures you enjoy your flight fully.

This also frees you from the hassle of carrying your belongings around, thanks to Sanelo’s shipment protection services. So, if you plan on relocating, whether locally or internationally, partnering with Sanelo, which has years of experience in the business, is the way to go.

grey concrete bridge over body of water during daytime

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Conclusion On Moving To Hong Kong From Singapore

Hong Kong and Singapore share a lot of things. Both are highly urbanised finance centres in the region that’s full to the brim with opportunities. There are excellent places to settle in and call home, and despite the high cost of living, these city-states have some of the best quality of living in the world.

Despite these similarities, they have also formed unique and very distinct cultures and personalities that are all their own. Thanks to being centres of business, both Hong Kong and Singapore experience a very healthy flow and people from all over the world. This keeps the economy alive and the culture and communities always vibrant and changing.

Still not sure if Hong Kong is the place for you? Check out our guides to Thailand, Japan, and the United Kingdom and see if those destinations are a better fit.

Frequently Asked Questions About Moving To Hong Kong

What Is A Good Salary Level In Hong Kong?

According to recent studies, a single person will need at least 8,200 HKD for the cost of living before housing costs. Based on market trends, the lowest average salary is 9,300 HKD and can go up to a high average of 163,000 HKD.

Is There A Large Expat Population In Hong Kong?

Expats make up almost 10% of the population of Hong Kong. However, thanks to the pandemic and travel restrictions, that number has fluctuated over the last few years.

Which Is More Expensive, Hong Kong Or Singapore?

Singapore and Hong Kong are fairly similar regarding the cost of living and are at times referred to as Asian Tigers. On average, goods and services in Singapore are 13% more expensive, but rent and housing costs in Hong Kong are cheaper.

Can Sanelo Help With My Relocation To Hong Kong?

Definitely! Just contact Sanelo either through call or email, and a representative will be glad to answer all your questions, guide you through the whole process as well as assist in any and all requirements.


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