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I am a UK national in my late twenties, currently working in London but planning to move to Hong Kong. I have 4 years experience working in IT consultancy. I work for a global company, but there does not seem to be a possibility for me to transfer internally any time soon. I have had minimal luck with applications made for HK roles over the last 7 months while I've been working in the UK (believe my remote location situation may be screening me out of some immediately).

If I were to resign from my UK job and turn up at a HK airport in a month's time, how likely would I be to find a comparable role within 3 months?

Without going in to specifics of my exact skills, experience and desired salary, some pointers from experienced expats on the following would be highly valued:

  1. For someone requiring visa sponsorship, what is the likelihood is of finding a role in a professional occupation in HK within 3 months?
  2. Is it commonly achievable to do so without making a trade-off on living standards?
  3. Any advice for me to de-risk this move in general?
  • It is difficult to tell whether the problem is distance, or the paperwork involved in sponsoring a work visa applicant. If the latter, it will be no better from HK, and you will be jobless which tends to be a negative factor. – Patricia Shanahan Nov 2 '16 at 14:01
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I did this, though I was within the engineering field. It took me around 12 months to find a company that was willing to provide sponsorship. I found out that some commonwealth countries such as the UK, Australia and Canada have a holiday working Visa for under 30. Hong Kong reciprocates this. 3 months is also a typical probation period of a company....

My recommendation is to sort this visa and contact a few recruiters within your area of experience. Along with directly hitting up professionals on LinkedIn and finding out where they're doing CPD training and what not. That will allow you to really hit the ground running. Another suggestion as well would be to get a job quickly as rent is expensive. Then if the job doesn't suit you, trade up later on for something better.

Check out HK facebook groups for expatriates and geoexpat.hk; all fairly active with similar questions to yours.

  • I'm not sure this gives a technically correct answer to the question (which I suspect is basically 'no', though I'd have to look into it). – ouflak Nov 7 '16 at 7:37
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For someone requiring visa sponsorship, what is the likelihood is of finding a role in a professional occupation in HK within 3 months?

Three months is too short, I think; without an employer, it takes more like 8-12 months. But with that said, you can't know exactly; if you are lucky and you found an employer who needs your specialty, it can be done in 1 month's time. But prepare for the worst.

Is it commonly achievable to do so without making a trade-off on living standards?

Depends on your living standards. In HK (which has one of the most expensive rent in the world), apartment are old, expensive and small (I am speaking overall). You should really look at examples of the real estate market (1, 2) to get you an idea. The rent will be the biggest part of your budget.

For the food, if you go for Chinese food, it can be cheap; Western food is a bit more expensive (everything is imported), but overall you can manage and tweak this expense. Aim for a shared apartment; there are a lot of those there due to the crazy rent.

Any advice for me to de-risk this move in general?

  • Be prepared to live for 1 year without a job, I would say.
  • Aim at first for a shared apartment to reduce the cost.
  • Make contacts before you arrive.

Maybe you can try to make some contacts, schedule meetings during a two-week period, and come only for those 2 weeks, to see how things go. It will give you better insight, and you might be lucky and get positive feedback.

Look on Facebook; there are a lot of pages where you can ask questions (Expat, shared apartment ...)

Good luck

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