Before moving to mainland China, there are other practicalities to consider. ‘The trailing spouse is often a woman, but nowadays you see more and more trailing spouses who are men. It can be very difficult [for them] to get jobs here, especially if you are a bit older or you are a foreigner or you don’t speak Chinese,’ says Mark Schaub, international partner at King & Wood Mallesons in Shanghai. ‘For the person who is working, China can be a very exciting place because there is a lot happening, but very often a spouse who is not part of the package can have a difficult time adjusting,’ he relates.
There is no shortage of international schools, with the largest concentration in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. But fees are high and waiting lists long for places in the most popular schools. Schaub recommends contacting schools well in advance of the move...
‘The best thing to say about the air in Shanghai is that it is better than in Beijing,’ Schaub says.
‘Pollution is generally bad in Shanghai, but in Beijing it is through the roof. Simply because of the pollution levels, I would not move to either city if I had a baby or a small child,’ Elshafei adds. But you can have fun too. ‘I am a big fan of the city,’ says Schaub, in Shanghai since 1993...
So what is there to be gained by a move to mainland China? ‘The work is very interesting,’ says Schaub. ‘You can get exposure to big matters relatively early on. It is a complicated place with interesting kinds of problems to solve.’ Schaub was the first foreign lawyer to join China’s largest law firm, King and Wood, in 2000. The firm merged with Australia’s Mallesons Stephen Jaques in 2012...
‘Most people who come to Beijing or Shanghai have a very positive experience,’ says Schaub, who has clocked up 22 years in the country. ‘Not many stay as long as me, but most people do enjoy it here.’More in the Law Gazette.
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