Moving to the UK from Hong Kong

We’re chuffed that you’re thinking about moving to the UK! Countless wonders await you in your new home, from cutting sarcasm to the best whisky, haggis, and football in the world.

Whether you’re moving to the UK alone, or moving to the UK with your family, we’ve got you covered, from living costs to the truth about the British climate. Easy peasy.

We can also offer you free quotes for shipping your possessions. If you fill in the form at the top of this page, you can see how much moving your life to the UK would cost.

Sunset in Dartmoor national park

Dartmoor is one of many sweeping landscapes you can visit in the UK

infographic about the UK

Cost of shipping to the UK from Hong Kong 

We’ve calculated the average international shipping rates for some of our most sought-after journeys from Hong Kong to popular destinations in the UK.

The rates are sourced from WorldFreightRates.com, and are based on the port-to-port transportation of a 20ft container of used furniture worth £40,000 (HK$384,000) – the typical value of the contents of a three-bedroom house (according to Admiral Insurance). The durations are sourced from Searates.com.

This information was last updated in July 2020.

Bear in mind these are estimates only. If you’d like a more accurate idea of how much shipping to the UK will cost you, just pop your details into this form, and our suppliers will get back to you.

RouteCostDuration
Hong Kong to London

9,507 ()

31 days
Hong Kong to Liverpool

9,243 ()

30.9 days
Hong Kong to Aberdeen

10,474 ()

32 days

Please note: these container shipping costs exclude typical add-ons such as door-to-door delivery, professional packing/unpacking, and basic insurance cover. Our shipping suppliers normally incorporate these services into their prices, so expect some discrepancy between the rates given here and the quotes you receive. These estimates should be used as an indication only.

Select the size of your move to get free quotes

Cost of flying goods to the UK from Hong Kong

These rates are also sourced from WorldFreightRates.com, and are based on the airport-to-airport transportation of much lighter goods – 250kg of household goods, to be precise, worth £40,000 (HK$384,000) from Hong Kong to London, Liverpool, and Aberdeen.

Naturally, air freight has advantages when it comes to speed, but container shipping is 12-16 times cheaper, according to The World Bank – and in this specific case, shipping could save you more than HK$10,000.

RouteCostDuration
Hong Kong to London

19,513 ()

13 hours
Hong Kong to Liverpool

19,513 ()

12.7 hours
Hong Kong to Aberdeen

19,513 ()

12 hours
sunset at a dorset beach, in the UK

Stunning sunsets on beaches framed by a Jurassic coastline - what a world

Healthcare in the UK

If you want to find out everything about Britain’s publicly funded National Health Service (NHS), check out our guide to Healthcare in the United Kingdom.

Before your big move, it’s wise to consider whether you want to join the 8.6 million people in the UK who have private insurance.

That’s why we’ve partnered with Cigna for private medical insurance in the UK. With four levels of annual cover to choose from and extra modules for greater flexibility, Cigna will sort you out with a plan that suits your needs.

Start building a customised plan with a free quote to protect your most important assets – you and your family.

Cost of living in the UK

Good / serviceAverage cost
A pint of beer36
A monthly gym subscription413
1 litre of petrol11.80
A bottle of wine 56.40
1 litre of milk7.70
Loaf of bread10
12 eggs21.60
Single ticket on public transport22.40
1-bedroom flat monthly rent6,537
3-bedroom flat monthly rent10,751

Transferring money to the UK from Hong Kong

If you’re thinking of moving to the UK, you’ll probably need to convert some of your Hong Kong dollars into British pounds.

That’s why we’ve teamed up with Wise, an easy-to-use online international money transfer service which uses the real exchange rate, and charges low fees.

How much could you save? Well, its service can be up to 8x cheaper than high street banks.

Join more than 7 million people and start using TransferWise today.

Working in the UK

If you want to work in a multicultural country with one of the best economies in the world, free public healthcare, and a healthy obsession with Indian food, you’ll love the UK.

Here are the ways you can make that dream come true.

Getting a work visa for the UK

The main way to qualify for a UK work visa is as a “skilled worker”. Check with your employer or the Hong Kong British Consulate-General if you meet the criteria for this tier two visa, which allows you to live in the UK for at least three years.

You may also be able to get a tier two visa if you’ve been offered a role in your company’s UK branch, a job in a religious community, or a position as an elite sportsperson or coach.

You can also stay in the UK for at least three years and four months on an investor visa, as long as you’re planning on investing at least £2 million (HK$19 million) in the UK.

Or, if you’re 18-30 years old, you may qualify to live and work in the UK for two years on a Youth Mobility Scheme visa.

For more information, consult our page on UK work visas.

UK citizenship

On July 1st, the UK government offered more than three million Hong Kongers a route out of the former British colony.

The move was a reaction to China’s new security law, which reduces Hong Kong’s autonomy and its inhabitants’ freedoms.

Around 350,000 UK passport holders and 2.6 million others will now be able to move to the UK, live there for five years, then apply for settled status.

A year after that, they’ll be able to apply for British citizenship.

These British National Overseas Passport holders in Hong Kong had previously only been allowed to spend six months in the UK without a visa.

Average salary in the UK

The median average salary for full-time employees is £30,353 (HK$291,500), according to the ONS’s 2019 data.

Wages will depend on which field you work in and whether or not you work full-time, and (like most countries) are statistically likely to be lower if you’re a woman.

Income tax in the UK

Just like in Hong Kong, you can expect to pay a progressive income tax.

The UK government’s rates mean that a worker on the country’s average salary of £30,353 will have to pay £3,570.40 (HK$34,300) in income tax – or 11.8% of their wage.

This is mainly because the first £12,500 that employees receive is tax-free, so only £17,853 of the average worker’s wages is taxed.

Annual salary (£)Annual salary (HK$)Income tax rate
Up to 12,500Up to 119,9000%
12,501 to 50,000119,901 to 479,57420%
50,001 to 150,000479,583 to 1,438,72140%
Over 150,000Over 1,438,72145%

Job hunting in the UK

If you find yourself in need of a job, there are plenty of sites you can peruse in search of that perfect new role.

Jobsite, Reed.co.uk, Monster, and Indeed are all excellent – and if your preferred position is a little bit more specialised, you should also sign up with a recruitment agency with its ear to the ground in your industry.

Climate in the UK

The UK’s temperate climate is split into four seasons, just like subtropical Hong Kong – though in slightly more muted fashion.

Reflecting the nature of its stereotypically reserved people, the island only goes below 5°C or above 20°C for a couple of weeks each winter and summer, respectively – though there are no guarantees.

Brits love to talk about the weather, mainly because it’s so variable, but it doesn’t get close to the tempestuousness of Hong Kong, where thunderstorms occurred on 59 days between February and October 2019 – or 22% of all days.

In the UK, you’ll rarely experience more than 20 days of thunderstorms per year.

It also rains more often in the UK, but just barely, according to Met Office data and Climates to Travel. Hong Kong has 138 days of rain, whereas the UK gets 156.

Does it snow in the UK?

It does! Unlike in Hong Kong, you’ll be able to enjoy plenty of fluffy, frozen fractals falling and floating to the floor.

Most of the UK’s 23.7 days of snowfall or sleet per year (on average) come during January and February, according to the Met Office – and there are more than that in Scotland.

The snow doesn’t always stick, but you can still look forward to 15.6 days per year when the ground is blessed with a lovely layer of white.

The best places to live in the UK

The UK is more than London, and more than England. There are wonders to be discovered all over these lands, from Land’s End to John O’Groats, from Belfast to Bala, and from Dundee to Devon.

Here are the best places to call home.

Edinburgh: best for students

Choose the Scottish capital, and never look back.

Spend your student years strolling through Old and New Towns that are both UNESCO World Heritage Sites, enjoying the madness of the Festival Fringe, and celebrating New Year’s with Hogmanay, a wild three-day street party.

That’s without mentioning that Edinburgh University came 30th in the world in The Times’ World University Rankings 2020, out of nearly 1,400 institutions.

And there’ll be plenty of people in the same boat as you, seeing as 41% of attendees are international students.

Bristol: best for families

Bristol is a liberal, diverse, culturally vibrant city that won’t overwhelm your kids or your wallet.

The relatively relaxed south-western city of 460,000 people is the perfect place to raise a family. There’s tons to see and do, from street art and the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery to the zoo, planetarium, and aerospace museum.

And when you need a break from city life, you’re within touching distance of the countryside – or even the seaside. Pack the family in the car, and in just 30 minutes, you’ll be lying on the beach.

London: best for work

London is a multicultural wonder, filled to the brim with unique history, delicious cuisine, and stunning entertainment – and a thriving job market.

A large proportion of the capital’s 9 million residents have moved there from other parts of the country or further afield, all in search of employment.

That’s because London is the nucleus of countless sectors, from financial services in the City to the creative, media, and technological industries located across the capital.

In 2018, London had a GDP of £487 million (HK$4.67 billion), according to the ONS22.8% of the UK’s total GDP, and higher than the GDP of Austria, Norway, or the United Arab Emirates.

7 Quick Facts about the UK 

  • Hong Kongers are one of 23 foreign-born communities with more than 100,000 people in the UK
  • The sports of cricket, curling, and golf were all invented in the UK
  • The Yorkshire pudding is the UK’s most popular savoury food, according to a 2019 YouGov survey
  • People in the UK drink around 100 million cups of tea per day – and about 70 million cups of coffee
  • The annual Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake in Gloucester sees people chase a wheel of cheese down a steep slope
  • Wales has more castles per square mile than any other European country
  • The British Library receives a copy of every publication produced in the UK and Ireland, and currently has 170 million items in its collection

Next steps

You’re now ready to experience everything the UK has to offer, from sticky toffee pudding to black pudding, and from Windsor Castle to the West End.

You can take the next step by filling in this form for free shipping quotes from trusted specialists who can move your belongings to your new home.