ABOUT 7,600 Hongkongers emigrated last year – a three-year high – with experts saying they were motivated mostly by the local political climate. The number was 8.6 percent up on the 7,000 who emigrated in 2015, said the Security Bureau (保安局).
The top destination was the United States with 2,800 new Hong Kong emigrants, a five-year high and up 33.3 percent from the 2,100 in 2015. Next were Australia at 2,100 – compared with 2,000 in 2015 – and Canada at 1,000, up from 800 a year before.
The estimates are based on the number of applications for the ‘certificate of no criminal conviction’, used for immigration purposes, that were sent to the Hong Kong police force and other relevant available information, as there are no direct statistics.
An immigration consultant said the number of his firm’s clients grew after the Occupy movement. Many of them are uncomfortable with the local social and political environment and wanted to obtain another nationality to protect themselves. He said Taiwan was another popular destination for Hongkongers and official figures showed 1,273 migrated to Taiwan, up more than 40 percent in 2015.
Another consultant said of the 100 families his firm helped to emigrate to the United States last year, 4 to 5 percent were mainlanders who wanted to move their money out of China. He expected the number of people emigrating to the United States to increase by at least 20 percent this year as Hong Kong “still has deep-rooted conflicts and problems yet to be resolved and people lack confidence in the incoming government”.
(This article is published on Junior Standard on 11 May 2017)
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