Relocating from Hong Kong to London
With the rise of remote working, relocation might not be something that you have considered, however it can be a beneficial career move, bringing new opportunities and a chance to experience a new country.
According to Graebel’s Annual State of Mobility Report 2022, the main benefits of relocating are to:
- Gain a new career skill or opportunity
- Experience a different culture
- Expand your personal or professional network
- Learn a new language
They also reported that over 4 in 5 would be willing to relocate for work in the next 12 months.
We recently caught up with one of our candidates who relocated from Hong Kong to London, about the process of moving and the differences between the two countries.
Why did you want to move from HK to London?
I have always wanted to travel abroad. I especially wanted to come to London as it’s a great place to meet different types of people and it’s so metropolitan. It has the most interesting construction projects and different opportunities so it’s a great step for my career.
What was the VISA process like?
I was very lucky; I always had a BNO Visa so all I had to do was go on the website and upload a document. Then I went to the Northpoint centre to enrol physically. You can also download and apply but the process probably took about a week. If you don’t already have a BNO VISA, this process will take longer. I have heard of it taking 3-6 months, but I am not sure currently.
See full details on BNO visas here.
What was the moving process like for you logistically?
It was quite stressful to be honest! I moved all of my things out of my apartment, rented it out and then packed extra stuff up to my parent’s place. Then I moved out with a big suitcase with my things and took it all on with my flight! It was easy for me to travel quite light but I think some of my friends would struggle!
What did you do about accommodation?
I always knew I wanted to live in SW London. I tried to rent an apartment independently at an estate agent but I didn’t have a credit history and they wanted a high deposit so that was difficult as the area I wanted was expensive. I then downloaded the SpareRoom app which I used to find a room and now live with 2 nice girls who I am friends with. It took a little while as I sent a lot of messages, and some people don’t get back to you! You just have to keep looking and trying and you will find something.
What do you think are the biggest differences between London and HK?
For me, the weather was a big shock! Generally speaking, the pace here is a lot slower than in HK. Although it is relaxing, I sometimes find it too slow! For example, it’s not like HK where you get your order taken at a restaurant as soon as you sit down. Here, you wait for the waiters to take orders once you’re settled at your table – I find that very strange.
How have you managed to make friends?
I have found it very easy. I am quite used to being on my own so I have had to make an effort to meet people. I do it by joining Facebook groups and doing activities - I’d recommend pursuing your hobbies and you will find likeminded people. Social media is a huge help for me to do this.
Is there a large HK community in London?
Yes, there are people from all over the world in London. I have met people through friends of friends who have moved over – they are all very friendly! I was told a lot of people from HK live in Streatham and Kensington. I see them a lot around there. Again, I’d recommend finding Facebook groups which then add you to WhatsApp groups – there is a great community. I have also met people from HK at work which is great.
What is your favourite thing about London?
The people. They are very good at ‘getting on with it’. I really respect and admire it and I think they are incredibly resilient. I also like that the areas all feel very different - I think London is like lots of little towns in one which I love.
What is your least favourite thing?
I don’t like the food very much! Lots of restaurants in HK are great quality. Here, you must find the good places and book them in advance. You can’t just walk in – I need to be more organised!
What would you say to someone thinking about moving to London from HK?
I would recommend it, I love it. I would recommend you don’t apply your HK expectations to London, they are very different. In terms of work, the projects are amazing, it’s so exciting to contribute to the construction of such an iconic city. Also, if you want to learn more about the culture and the people it’s great. I think it takes time to settle anywhere, I’ve been here 7 months and I’m still learning things and think I will for a long time in the future!
If you’re interested in exploring relocation opportunities or your next career move, get in touch with Annabel on firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 3757 5000.
Capstone Property Recruitment UK is a leading property recruitment company offering senior level roles globally within construction and development, real estate, programme management office, technical services and corporate services.