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Living in Asia guide

Find out all you need to know to relocate and live in Asia with the expat guide

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Generalities

General information
  • Located to the north of the Himalayas, Tibet is one of the highest regions on the planet with a unique and inviting culture.

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  • One of the world's largest and most populous countries and boasting a world-leading economy, China is a popular expat destination.

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  • Hyogo is a Japanese city which receives thousands of visitors each year. It is known to be a tourist region. Its economy has been developing over the years

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  • Fukui is known as the green city thanks to its extensive natural beauty. It'd a small city with a developed economy and rich history for expats to explore.

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  • Japan is made up of more than 6,000 islands. Its capital city is Tokyo while its most important cities are Kyoto and Osaka, etc..

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Formalities

Visas, passports and entry requirements
  • To get married in Japan, you are required to apply for a certificate of legal capacity to marry at the embassy or consulate of your country in Japan.

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  • If you wish to travel to Malaysia, you should first inquire about entry requirements in the country, especially in terms of visas.

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  • If you are visiting China for a period of less than 6 months, you can import products such as cigarettes and alcoholic drinks in small quantities.

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  • Marriage procedures differ in China if one spouse is a citizen, or if both partners are foreign nationals (in which case one must have a residency visa).

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  • There are different procedures to get married in Singapore, depending on both your and your spouses residency statuses.

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Visas

Work visas, work permits, working holiday visas and residence permits
  • To travel to Macau, you must apply for a visa, an entry permit or a visa on arrival, if you do not come from a country whose citizens are exempt.

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  • In order to work in Japan, expats can applyfor a work visa or a working holiday visa. Some expats may be able applicable for a permanent residence visa.

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  • You will need a tourist visa to stay for a maximum period of 90 days in Japan. However, citizens of certain countries are exempt from visa requirements.

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  • Though citizens of almost 100 countries can travel to Malaysia visa-free, it is advisable to check entry requirements with your closest Malaysian embassy.

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  • You will need a visa to work in China. The M, F and Z visa all serve different purposes, whether you are visiting on business or plan to get a job.

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Work

Labour market, how to find a job
  • Expats moving to Macau to find a job will find most opportunities in the gaming and tourism sectors, which form a large part of its economy.

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  • Japan has a lot to offer expats. If you are trying to find a job in the country, knowledge of local customs and some Japanese will certainly be helpful.

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  • As a leading global city, Tokyo has many job opportunities for expats, particularly in the hi-tech, finance and service sectors.

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  • Yokohama, capital city of the Kanagawa Prefecture, is a maritime region. Its economy is centred on its port, which has job opportunities for expats.

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  • Fukuoka is an important harbour city in Japan and the economic centre of Kyushu Island. Expats can find jobs in manufacturing, services and high tech.

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Accommodation

How to rent a house or an apartment, leases and rental agreements
  • Expats looking to rent accommodation in Japan will require a residence card and a Japanese guarantor. The most common type of housing is apartments.

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  • Japan's capital city is hugely popular with both locals and expats. However, accommodation in Tokyo is more expensive than other parts of Japan.

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  • Kyoto is Japan's old capital and holds a wealth of Japanese tradition. The price of renting accommodation varies by location and furnishings included.

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  • Osaka is quite densely populated, so expats looking for accommodation in the city should expect smaller housing options than elsewhere.

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  • Hiroshima has both traditional sights and modern amenities, though expats may not find it easy to find long-term accommodation in the city.

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Study

Student visa, University registration
  • International students have a number of universities to choose from in Japan. Those who wish to study in Japan should apply for a student visa.

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  • International students in Malaysia can choose from public or private universities. You can also work in Malaysia following your graduation.

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  • China is home to numerous institutions offering higher-education courses. If you wish to study in China, you will need an X1 or X2 visa.

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Health care

Public and private health systems
  • Japan has two national protection schemes. But you have to subscribe to a health insurance if you are moving there for less than a year.

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  • Malaysia has a developed health care system which offers quality services. Moreover, many foreigners visit the country specifically for medical care.

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  • Healthcare in China comprises both public and private hospitals. Both modern formulated medicines and traditional herbal medicines are used in treatments.

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  • Singapore has private and public hospitals and clinics. Healthcare services are excellent.

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Bank

Open and manage a bank account
  • Expats will require a residence card in order to open a bank account in Japan. Be aware that some local branches may only offer services in Japanese.

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  • Malaysia hosts many national and international banks where you can consider opening a bank account, if you have decided to settle there.

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  • There are a number of national banks to choose from in China. However, only residents will be able to open an account.

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  • There are many personal banking options in Singapore and the procedure for opening an account is quite straightforward.

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  • Formalities regarding the opening of a bank account in Cambodia are quite simple. The use of the US dollar is quite widespread there.

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Tax

Tax system, income tax
  • Non residents in Japan are have to pay income tax according to their Japanese income. Residents have to pay tax according to their global income.

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  • There are different types of tax in Malaysia: road tax, consumption tax, property tax, income tax, etc.. These also apply to foreigners.

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  • If you are moving to China, you need to pay income tax. Expats will likely benefit from China's many non-double taxation treaty's with other countries.

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  • Income tax is deducted at the source in Singapore, with non-residents paying up to 20% tax. If you work for less than 60 days, you may be exempt.

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  • Foreigners living and working in Cambodia have to pay income tax, whether or not they are residents. Other taxes also apply to them.

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Transports

Train, bus, plane, car rental
  • Japan offers several different modes of transportation. Over long distances, trains and planes are popular. There also buses and taxis available.

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  • There are multiple modes of transport to help you navigate Malaysia, as well as the wider region, from bus and train to flights.

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  • Kuala Lumpur has a highly developed transport system, with various rail options, as well as buses and taxis to help you get around.

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  • China is a large country, however there are different types of transportation to help you move around, from national flights to bikes in towns and cities.

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  • Several means of transport are available in Singapore: aeroplane, bus, metro, taxi and car rental. Fares are rather affordable.

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Driver's licence

Driving requirements
  • You can drive in Japan with your international driver's licence, except if your home country has an exchange agreement with Japan.

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  • Malaysia has a very good road network. After three months (when you can drive with your own licence), you will need an International or Malaysian Licence.

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  • If you are a permanent resident in China, you can exchange your national or international driver's license for a Chinese driver's license.

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  • A valid foreign license or International Driving License can be used for periods less than a year, after which you will need to apply for a local license.

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  • You are allowed to drive in Cambodia if you have a valid driver's license, that is by converting your original driver's license.

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Removal

moving, formalities and useful tips
  • Moving to Japan: How to find a removal company?

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  • If you are moving to Malaysia, you will likely need a removal company to ship your belongings there. From Europe, this can take as little as three weeks.

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  • If you are moving to China, you will probably need to move your belongings. You are advised to hire professional international movers.

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  • Many international moving companies offer services for transfer and relocation to Singapore.

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  • Relocating to Cambodia requires appropriate planning. It is better to hire removal experts who will take care of all related formalities on your behalf.

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Communications

Phone line, internet provider, post office
  • Connecting to the internet is quite easy in Japan. The country has several types of connection: narrow band, broadband, wireless and mobile internet.

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  • You have to buy a new mobile phone and a Japanese sim card if you want to make phone calls in Japan. Yours will not be compatible.

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  • Malaysia has a highly developed telecommunications network. Though fibre broadband is limited, internet speeds are quite good. There is also 4G.

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  • China's mobile phone market has known a real boom over the past few years. The number of smart phones has been growing, as well as services provided by mob

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  • China is a well-connected country, with a high number of internet users. Though it is easy to get online, expats should be aware of censorship rules.

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Leisure

Sports, leisure and cultural activities
  • A number of different traditional and international sports are practised in Japan. It may surprise expats to learn that baseball is particularly popular.

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  • There are various ways to discover Japan. You can take a walk in the mountains and forests during your free time or visit the ancient palaces and temples.

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  • No matter how you like to spend your leisure time, expats are sure to be kept busy in Kuala Lumpur from activities from kids activities to dining out.

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  • There is no one Chinese language, though Puthonghua is most commonly spoken. You can start learning before you leave, or enroll in a course once in China.

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  • Chinese cuisine varies across different provinces and involves a range of ingredients and spices. International cuisines are available in most cities.

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Miscellaneous

  • According to Japanese customs, certain items are duty-free, others can be imported with restrictions, some are prohibited and some require a declaration.

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  • In Japan, you can entrust your children of less than 6 years old to different childcare systems: nursery schools, kindergartens and preprimary schools.

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  • Your pet must be micro-chipped, vaccinated against rabies and have had a check-up by a vet in your home country before you can move to Japan with your pet.

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  • Malaysia is a cultural melting pot, and the lifestyle reflects this. Expats can expect to experience a wide range of food and festivities.

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  • If you wish to travel to Malaysia with your pet, whether it is a cat or a dog, conditions will vary according to your home country. No birds are permitted.

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