Moving to Hong Kong? Three common expat traps to avoid.

Updated: Oct 17, 2020


It’s nearly April. Every day, I receive enquiries from families who just got word that they’ll be relocating to Hong Kong in July/August and they need school places for September. This is not easy!

An application submitted in April is VERY late.

Of course, parents may not know this when they sign on the dotted line and make the deal to move. The employer and/or headhunter should know this, but it may not be in their interests to spell out the challenge.

If you are thinking of moving to Hong Kong, don’t fall into these three common expat “traps”:

1. Late

This is by far the most serious and most prevalent trap and encompasses a few elements.


Of course, the more time the family has, the better. A normal, on-time, school application is at least one year ahead. Any application submitted less than a year in advance is usually considered late. Many schools give families relocating to HK fair consideration even if their application is late. However, an application will only result in an offer if places are available. This is much more normal at secondary level, rather than primary.

If the child or children are not able to secure satisfactory school places at very short notice, the family has two choices:

1)  Kids can stay in school in their home country until school places in preferred schools become available. All applications are duly submitted and the children will likely need to attend interviews/assessmen