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Living & Working in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a safe, lively and vibrant city in which to live and work. Cost of living expenses, especially accommodation, is higher than in the UK (probably on an equivalent to central London). Accommodation is usually in small flats within high-rise complexes. The public transport is excellent: extensive and very cost effective. Car ownership is not considered a necessity, except by those parents who support their children's frantic social lives!

Kellett School teacher salaries are amongst the most generous offered by independent schools in Hong Kong. Kellett School has its own incremental salary scale. Increments are awarded annually in September, subject to satisfactory performance. The Kellett School salary scale is annually reviewed by the Board of Governors. The agreed salary will be confirmed in writing at the time of appointment.

Personal taxation is low; currently the maximum is 17% of income. Accommodation expenses can be offset against tax, often reducing tax liability to as little as 8%. Employees are required to contribute a percentage of salary to The HKSAR Government Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF). This is invested and repaid to expatriates, plus/minus losses, on leaving Hong Kong permanently. (Expatriate workers currently contributing to an existing 'authorised' scheme may be exempted).

The Hong Kong Education Department requires all teachers to have medical clearance prior to employment. The school’s medical scheme offers good cover. As is common with the majority of private health schemes, cover does not extend to pre-existing conditions, long-term medication and treatment. Individuals and parents with family members who have complex or long standing medical conditions, which impact on mobility or everyday living, should carefully consider the suitability of working in Hong Kong, before application.

Hong Kong is considered a safe city in which to live and work, for singles, married couples and families alike. The rule of law is based on the British system. We have excellent police and security forces. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office consider the threat of terrorism in Hong Kong to be low. Full details can be found at http://www.fco.gov.uk/

Rental units typically vary between HK$15,000 - $25,000 per month. Some new staff decide to share, significantly reducing their rental outgoings. Both school campuses are easily accessible by very reasonably priced and frequent public transport links.

Single staff usually enjoy a high standard of living. For married couples, both partners would be required to work to enjoy a similar standard, especially when accompanied by children. Dependents are permitted to work. (Please note that the HK Government does not extend the same rights to unmarried couples living together, regardless of the length of the relationship or the ability of the working partner to financially support the dependent partner).

The majority of staff enjoy regular international travel and within the first year, begin to save money. It is not uncommon for staff to employ domestic help within their homes. The Hong Kong dollar is pegged to the US dollar and is generally viewed as a stable international currency. Monies are freely remittable to and from Hong Kong. In common with any overseas appointment, those intending to repay student loans or mortgages should be aware that the value of Hong Kong dollars may fluctuate against other major currencies.

There are excellent local social and recreational facilities for English speaking expatriates, including a wide range of sport clubs and gyms and an amazing variety of restaurants and bars to suit everyone’s needs and budgets. The beautiful Country Parks provide opportunities for camping and extensive walking trails from family strolls to long distance hikes. Hong Kong has a strong tradition of choirs, amateur dramatics, and a wide variety of interest clubs, societies and churches.

There is a diverse arts scene. Hong Kong is home to more than one orchestra, an opera chorus and a ballet company. This is a major venue for touring bands, orchestras and theatrical companies. There are annual International, and Asian Arts Festivals, film festivals, and museum and gallery exhibitions too numerous to mention. The Arts are heavily subsidised and within everyone's budget. There is a wide range of cinemas showing English language and international films. Major films are often released in Hong Kong ahead of the UK. There are a number of "Arts" cinemas showing unusual, independant and foreign language films.

Air transport is the main form of travel to and from Hong Kong. As elsewhere in the world, the school holidays signal the commencement of high season fares. These fares, however, do not prevent the majority of teachers enjoying overseas holidays during all the major school breaks. Destinations are global with most staff making the most of the incredible travel opportunities available from Asia.

The climate is monsoonal with three distinct seasons: a hot wet humid season, usually May to September; a pleasant dry warm season, October to January and a cool, wet (and sometimes humid season), from February to April. Daytime average temperatures: June 32C, October 24C, February 13C. Typhoons and heavy rain may occur between May and October. The Government's excellent warning system gives early notice, and damage is minimal.

Further information about living in Hong Kong can be obtained from:

 

Hong Kong Tourism Board

AsiaXPAT Hong Kong

PARKnSHOP Supermarket