Relocation packages: AsiaEvery offer will differ, subject to the firm’s discretion, but the most common offers include:
- Relocation package: tends to include an economy flight (usually one-way), accommodation in a serviced apartment for the first few weeks (usually 4 weeks) and a capped amount (often accessible through the provision of receipts) in order to relocate your personal belongings. It is rare for employers to provide flights to relocate a partner and family, but this will depend on firm policy and the individual’s circumstances.
- Local contract: once relocated to Asia you will be on a local contract as opposed to an ‘expat package’, meaning all expenses are paid and controlled yourself out of your wage.
- Relocation: most firms will pose conditions on the relocation package with the most common being:
- a claw back provision if you leave the firm within a specified time frame; and,
- temporary accommodation only being available for the full period offered if you are actively seeking alternate accommodation.
- Annual leave: Firms vary in what they will offer but it is common to receive between 15-22 days annually depending on the firm and level. Most firms will ensure an internationally comparable number of days for those relocating (18-22 days). It is also worth noting that there are 17 public holidays in Hong Kong and 11 in Singapore.
- Health / Dental: Most firms will offer health and dental cover (at a senior level this can sometimes cover your partner as well, but this is not standard).
- Bonuses: These are usually discretionary and we have seen these being paid at between 0.5-4 months’ bonus depending on firm, level and performance (1-2 months is most common). Some firms still work on a 13-month basis and so have a guaranteed one-month bonus.
- Saturdays: Some employment contracts will include the provision to work on Saturdays as standard wording. However, at the majority of firms we work with in Hong Kong and Singapore, this would be an occasional occurrence (as with anywhere in the world).
- Maternity leave: This will be a firm policy and so will not be covered in your paperwork. By law, employers in Hong Kong are required to provide 10 weeks’ paid maternity leave to employees who have been employed for 40 weeks. In Singapore, an eligible employee is entitled to be absent for four weeks immediately before and 12 weeks immediately after having a baby, totalling 16 weeks. However, policies will vary firm to firm. In recent years we have seen more professionals taking six months off for maternity leave (negotiated independently at the time).
Getting a visa
- Hong Kong: it remains commonplace when we are briefed for firms to be interested in a shortlist of candidates from the Greater China region and internally. It is still a market that is reasonably easy for international professionals to look at.
- Singapore: in recent years, more restrictions have been imposed by the Ministry of Manpower requiring a certain ratio of expats to Singaporeans in any business, and requirements to look locally first before extending the search for talent to expats. We certainly do still recruit people into the Singapore market, although it now tends to be Manager and above.
Visa application process
- Once you have secured a role: your new employer will manage the application process for you. Once you formally accept the offer, the firm will contact you directly with the application forms.
- The application process: this will usually take 4-6 weeks though can take longer - after which you can apply for a dependent visa for your spouse and children (under 18 for HK or under 21 for Singapore).
- In Hong Kong: a dependant visa will enable your spouse and children to study or work while in Hong Kong. This dependant visa is granted for the same period as your work visa.
- For Singapore: an Employment Pass holder and S Pass holders with a fixed monthly salary of at least $4,000 is eligible to apply for Dependant’s Passes for your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age.