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Hong Kong or Australia: Where Should You Migrate?

10 June, 2016

Much like Australia, Hong Kong also went under British rule for a better part of its time (from 1841 to 1997) through the Treaty of Nanking and was handed back to China through the Convention of Peking. Throughout this period, Hong Kong transformed from a small fishing village and salt farm to one of the most important trading and financial centers of the world.

Because of these, it also became a popular migration destination, with its vigorous economy, good quality of life, and ample employment opportunities.

It’s time we compare the Pearl of the Orient with the Lucky Country.






Hong Kong

As one of the leading financial centers in the world, Hong Kong enjoys very low taxation and a stunted unemployment rate of 3.4%, this number only increases and decreases in very small increments. A major proportion of the country’s workforce is employed by urban establishments, as agriculture in Hong Kong is already in its sunset or passing stage.

The country’s biggest employers are concentrated in retail and hotel services (employing 30% of the workers), business and finance (15%), and community and social services (13%). Before 2010, free rein is being given to employers in determining workers’ salaries (in line with the free market policy), but a minimum wage law has been passed since then. As of May, 2015, Hong Kong’s hourly pay as mandated is at AU$5.60.

Free recruitment assistance for employers and placement service for job-seekers are being administered by the Labour Department to help the citizens getting employed. The average working hour per week here for full-time employees is a bit high at 49 hours.



Manufacturing, telecommunications, banking, and the recent mining boom are the country’s leading industries. There are a diverse range of work opportunities everywhere, with the service, information technology, and hospital industry constantly improving and do most of the employment currently.

Unemployment here is slightly higher at 5.7%, and is gradually decreasing as a result of franchising and trade shifting from Europe and North America to Japan and other East Asian markets to revitalize the market and add to the investment portfolio.

Working hours here is slightly below average, at 32 hours a week. Minimum wage stands at AU$17.29 an hour.




Health Care


Hong Kong

Health care in Hong Kong is a two-pronged system composed of the private sector and a government-sponsored public sector. The private sector provides plentiful and diverse choices, albeit at expensive prices. The public sector, on the other hand, is funded by the government and administers low-cost health services to eligible citizens. This presents problems to patients though, in form of overcrowding and long waiting lines.

The private system has 11 registered private hospitals offering private treatments, deluxe rooms, and customer-friendly staff and workers. While the public system has 47 specialist out-patient clinics and 73 general out-patient clinics, grouped into seven clusters according to their locations.



Like in Hong Kong, Australia’s health care system is comprised of private and public tracks.

Medicare is the Australian government’s publicly funded health insurance scheme. It provides Australian residents free treatment as a public patient in a public hospital and free or subsidized treatment for optometrist, dental care, and psychology services as well as treatment by doctors.

Individuals can take out private health insurance to cover out-of-pocket costs. They can either option for a plan that covers just selected services, to a full coverage plan. In practice, a person with private insurance may still be left with out-of-pocket payments, as services in private hospitals often cost more than the insurance payment.

Check here how the Australian Public Health Care System Works






Hong Kong

Hong Kong is one of the very few countries that effectively avoided the property bubble burst that have affected other countries like the United States, China, and Dubai. One reason could be the government’s constant and sufficient increase of house supply to the market, especially its low-income residents. Almost half of the residents here live in some form of public housing.

Housing types here include public rental housing (rented at discounted rates to low-income residents), home ownership scheme estates (subsidized-sale public housing estates for low-income residents), flats-for-sale, sandwich-class houses (marketed towards lower-middle and middle-income residents), interim housing, and tenants purchase scheme housing.




The government works hard to increase house-ownership in Australia. Only 33% of residents here lives in a fully owned properties, 31.4% rents their home, while 35%of homes are mortgaged.

Suburban fringes of cities and towns sports the inner-city medium to high-rise apartments and the low-density townhouses/fully detached houses, while Melbourne and Sydney cradles the inner-city public housing is generally found in They are usually 3-5 story walk-up flats and 11-22 story high-rise towers. Low-density suburban estates is located in almost every city and town in the country.







Hong Kong

Despite being kept under British wings for a better half of its time, Asian impact on Hong Kong’s cuisine is very well-preserved, especially Cantonese, Japanese, and South East Asian influences. Dim sums, congees, noodles, and rice meals the most popular dishes. Their food can also be creative and might challenge the uninitiated with the liberal use of animal tripe, intestines, and offal as main ingredients in their dishes. They also invented the concept of milk teas.

Unlike in Western setups, there is no proper time of the day for Hong Kong citizens to eat. Due to long working hours, they mostly have dinner at 10pm and then eat again 1am. Some Cantonese restaurants here open only at the start of the evening, as this is the time most people eat. Also, due to long working hours, dining out and taking out food is quite the norm, as people don’t have much time for cooking.



Australian cuisine is a hybrid native aboriginal ingenuity and British colonial influences, with mix of Asian and Mediterranean traditions contributed by wave after wave of post-colonial migrations that helped shaped their cuisine. They usually take advantage of meat available in the continent, such as lamb, kangaroo, and emu, as well as pork, beef, and chickens. Like Hong Kong residents, Aussies prefer the freshest produces as much as possible.

Dining culture is very much western. You are expected to make reservations first and confirm in formal restaurants. In informal dives, you might be expected to share a table. Be open to conversations when invited.




Public Transport


Hong Kong

Hong Kong boasts of the highest rate of public transport use in the world with 90% of daily travels happening in it. This in despite the increasing number of private vehicles in the past 15 years.

The country has a complex system of rail transport such as the Mass Transit Railway (MTR), which alone comprises of 10 lines, 84 railway stations and 68 Light Rail stops; tramways, funicular railway services, boundary-crossing trains, and the Automated People Mover, a driverless electric train service. Buses, light buses, and taxis also operate in the country.

A one way train ticket here costs AU$1.72, while a monthly pass is at around AU$77.44. Starting taxi tariff is AU$3.79 with AU$1.38  for the first one kilometer. A Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car) will set you back AU$39,780. Gasoline is at AU$2.56 for every litter.



Despite the very good public transport system, driving is the most used mode of transport in the country, and this number continues to rise. It is followed by train, walking (the country has a very good culture of walking), and then bus. All of Australian cities have reliable, affordable public bus networks and train lines, plus taxis operate nationwide. These train lines include commuter rail networks, trams, light rails, and rapid transits.

A one-way ticket sets you back by AU$4.00, while going for a monthly pass will increase it by AU$130.00. Taxi tariff is AU$4.00, while a kilometer ride is AU$2.17. If you want your own car, A Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (or any equivalent new car) will cost you AU$25,000.00 plus AU$1.31 for every litter of gasoline.





Weather and Climate


Hong Kong

Hong Kong's climate is described as monsoon-influenced humid subtropical climate, going towards temperate for nearly half the year. Many people regard November and December as the best months of the year, where there are pleasant breezes, plenty of sunshine and comfortable temperatures. January and February are cloudier, with casual cold fronts followed by dry northerly winds.

In urban areas, it is not uncommon for temperatures to drop below 10 C. The lowest temperature recorded at the Observatory is 0 Degree° C. However, sub-zero temperatures and frost mostly occur on high ground and in the New Territories.



Due to its massive size, climate varies vastly in Australia to a wide degree. This is reflected on the snow-capped mountains in the south and arid deserts in the interior. Unlike New Zealand, majority of the country leans more towards the temperate, tropical rainforest climate. Australians get plenty of sun and warmth most of the year but with huge drops in temperature during winter.

The weather widely differs with every city. To find out more about the climate in each of them, check it here.




Benefits of Citizenship


Hong Kong

There is no provision for Hong Kong’s citizenship status, since it has never been an independent country. However, migrants can be given permanent residency status called Right to Abode. And these are the rights awarded:

  • Right to land in the HKSAR (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region)
  • Right to be free from any condition of stay (including a limit of stay) in the HKSAR
  • Right not to be deported from the HKSAR
  • Right not to be removed from the HKSAR



Advantages of Australian Citizenship include:

  • Being able to work for the federal government
  • Children will be Australian citizens
  • The right to vote
  • Being able to run for public office
  • Avoid deportation
  • Entitlement for Australian passport
  • Access to consular help
  • Eligibility for the deferral of education fees
  • Full residence rights in New Zealand
  • Being able to adopt
  • Being able to represent Australia in international sporting events

For a more detailed information about these benefits, check our blog here.




The Takeaway


Both Hong Kong and Australia are have very good economic system, well-managed transport systems, and well-designed health care. And despite the similarities in colonial history, lifestyle in both nations are still worlds apart.

Hong Kong have managed its unemployment, crime, and energy rates very well and have successfully kept at incredibly low levels. A proof of a well-administered nation, economy and socially-wise. But living here can be challenging. As with any Asian financial center, life can be fast-paced, work hours are longer, and work-life balance is difficult to maintain. Not to mention, language barrier is an expected challenge here, as they are predominantly Cantonese speakers.

Australia, on the other hand, has a more laid back lifestyle, have shorter working hours, and encourages work-life balance. Unemployment rate is a bit higher, but employment options are still diverse and plentiful. The biggest setback however, is the weather, as Australia generally has a sun-tropical climate with erratic weather patterns, and can be testing for those from the colder parts of the world.


Leaning towards Australia but don’t have a migration professional yet? Throw us a message in the enquiry section below or call us at 1300 619 977 and we will help you get here!

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