Tips for Effective Relocation to China
Relocating to a country that is as vast and varied as China is an exciting, but often daunting, prospect. There’s so much to learn, take in, and do—and there is never enough time!
I’ve lived in Beijing for 14 years and have helped international assignees relocate all over China for more than 11 years. Whilst the country is diverse and complex, there are some key hints and tips that are common to all assignments. In Cartus’ latest video on Best Practices for Effective Relocation in China, I outline tips on housing, schooling, and visa and immigration. For cultural and language advice, my colleague Jenny Castelino’s video offers further important best practices for international assignees and their families in China.
Search for Schools First
Given the size of Chinese cities, the search for schooling should begin before finding a home. Commuting times to the new workplace should also be carefully considered, as traffic congestion is commonplace.
Set Realistic Housing Expectations
Different neighborhoods in China’s main cities offer a variety of lifestyle experiences, from city center living to quieter suburban homes. A look-see visit can set realistic housing expectations from the outset. Because the leasing market is quite active, especially in Shanghai and Beijing, families should be prepared to have two or three additional back-up options in case their first choice does not work out.
Be Flexible; Visa Timelines will Drive the Relocation
In China, relocation timescales are typically driven by the visa/work permit application and can vary by city and province. We recommend that applications be made early and that travel arrangements remain flexible to accommodate any processing delays.
Critically, the most important tip to remember when relocating to China is to plan ahead and appoint one overall coordinator for your relocations. This will ensure that all aspects of the move, such as visas/work permits, housing, schooling, household goods, etc., are aligned in a timeframe to suit your expectations and those of your assignee.
Review Cartus’ Effective Relocation to China video for further tips, or request a copy of our Best Practices for Effective Relocation to China: A Guide for Mobility Managers.