Reading is a prime destination for those looking to relocate from Hong Kong to the United Kingdom. In fact, relocation from Hong Kong to Reading is so popular that it has even started to make the news.
But why? What is it about Reading that makes it such an attractive destination to relocate to?
Moving from Hong Kong to Reading
When considering a destination to relocate to, it’s important to consider a range of factors:
- Overall quality of life
- Employment opportunities
Due to its fast and convenient transport links, and close proximity with London, Reading is known as a ‘commuter city’. Reading is dubbed the ‘Silicon Valley’ of the UK due to it being a major IT hub. It has a lot of attractive factors that draw in residents from overseas.
Overall Quality of Life
Reading vs. London
London is England’s largest city – by far – and offers a diverse culture, huge range of attractions, jobs and business opportunities. So, why pick Reading over London?
Reading is just 40 miles away from London. This means that commuting to London, where there are ample job opportunities, is fast and straightforward. Currently, reaching London Paddington is a 23-minute rail journey, but the up-coming Elizabeth Line will soon make the journey even easier: Canary Wharf will be just 68 minutes away.
Compared to living in London, however, housing is significantly cheaper in Reading for both those looking to rent and those looking to buy. Additionally, the cost of living is lower in Reading than in London, which is ideal from a financial perspective.
Living in Reading
When relocating to a new home, striking the right balance between opportunity, culture and quality of life is important. You will want to make sure that your new home town will provide you with everything you need to enjoy life.
Reading is a cultural centre in its own right. It has the Oracle Shopping Centre which has over 80 retailers, an 11-screen cinema, bars and restaurants. It is also home to ‘The Hexagon’ – the town’s main cultural venue that hosts a range of live entertainment including:
- Comedy shows
Reading has a lot going for sports and fitness fans too. There are two large leisure centres and the Madejski Stadium, where the local football club play against top teams visiting from around England.
There is lots to do in Reading and the surrounding areas. It is home to many popular events that happen throughout the year including:
- Royal Windsor Horse Show
- Reading Music Festival
- Henley Royal Regatta
There is a lot of beautiful English countryside in the area too. The Thames Valley is located in the heart of South East England and has an incredible array of green spaces, forests, parks and natural beauty – all easily accessible via a vast public transport network.
Hongkongers have a great and growing community in Britain and Reading is a top choice for many people moving from Hong Kong. There are a number of local groups including; the University of Reading Hong Kong Society, Hongkongers in Britain, and Hong Kong ARC.
A key element in resettling is the ability to find work to support yourself and your family in your new home. So, knowing the economic strengths of your target destination will help you make an informed decision on where to go.
In addition to the direct rail links with London, Reading has great access to the M4 motorway which provides easy access to Heathrow airport. This has made Reading a very attractive destination for some of the world’s biggest tech giants and companies including:
- Hewlett Packard
Reading is a major technology hub with over 11,000 businesses. Combine this with fantastic transport links and you will be able to understand why Reading enjoys one of the highest employment rates in the UK.
For families relocating from Hong Kong to the UK, it’s important to know that the destination is going to have everything you need. Education is a critical factor in the decision-making process, and fortunately, Reading performs exceptionally here.
For children aged 4 to 11, there are over 50 state-funded primary schools. Beyond that Reading has ten state secondary schools for children aged 11 to 18. Many of the schools in Reading have achieved very strong scores from their official ‘Ofsted inspections’.
There is a mix of selective and non-selective schools and options for single-sex and mixed cohorts. In addition to the ‘state-sponsored’ schools, there are also 7 private schools that offer a range of nursery, primary and high school level education.
The University of Reading, which was founded in 1926 as an extension to Oxford University, has an excellent national and international reputation. Reading University is rated in the top 30 universities in the country. For those looking to get into higher education, this is a fantastic option.
Reading is incredibly well connected to the UK’s transport network. Major cities all over the country are easily accessible from the main rail network and there are over 140 trains a day going into London. Heathrow airport is just 40 minutes away along the M4 motorway, which makes Reading a convenient place for international travel – both for visiting relatives and business trips.
In addition to the existing travel networks – a new high-speed multi-million-pound crossline called the “Elizabeth Line” will provide even greater access to Heathrow and the South-East of England.
What support is available from the UK Government?
The UK Government has pledged support to families relocating to the UK from Hong Kong. Parliament recently posted a report that fully outlines the UK’s offer of a visa and settlement routes for residents of Hong Kong.
If you are from Hong Kong and you are a British National (Overseas), you can apply for a British National (Overseas) visa for you and your family members. The BNO visa will entitle you to work, study and live in the UK for up to 5 years.
After you have lived in the UK for 5 years, you can apply to live in the UK permanently.
Once you have obtained a BNO visa, you might also be able to apply for benefits if you encounter certain financial circumstances including:
- Not having a place to live
- Having a place to live, but cannot afford essential living costs, such as food or heating
- Are at risk of losing your place to live, or being unable to afford essential living costs
- Have a very low income, and not having access to benefits that would harm your child’s wellbeing
In order to obtain a visa, you must be able to demonstrate that you are able to support yourself and your family – including housing costs – for 6 months. Further information on the requirements, documents, charges and more can be found on the UK Government’s website.
A new program, called ‘The Hong Kong British Nationals (Overseas) Integration Programme’ received £43 million in funding to help status holders integrate into their new homes by accessing work, educational support and housing.
For more information on relocating from Hong Kong to Reading, click here.
If you need any help with your relocation, or you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact Haslams directly. We look forward to welcoming you to our town.