Sunday, 7 May 2017

People Want to Leave HK

The number of people wanting to leave Hong Kong reached a three-year high
The numbers show it -- more and more people want to leave Hong Kong.

Last year the number of Hong Kong people who want to emigrate reached a three-year high last year according to figures from the Security Bureau. Some 7,600 applied for a certificate of no criminal conviction (CNCC) for outward immigration purposes, 8.6 percent more than in 2015 and 10 percent up from 2014.

The last time so many locals applied to leave was in 2013.

The top destination is the United States, with 2,800 people applying for immigration visas, the highest in five years -- despite Donald Trump being in office -- while Australia and Canada attracted 2,100 and 1,000 applications respectively.

Meanwhile the Hong Kong government notes that not all CNCC holders successfully obtained immigration visas.

The Occupy protests and other issues are reasons to leave
Nevertheless, Goldmax Immigration Consulting directory Benny Cheung said social, political and financial pressures had led more Hong Kong people to seek other options of where to live.

"There are three catalysts: the national education protest in 2012, the Occupy movement in 2014, and the Mongkok riots in 2016. We received a surge of inquiries soon after the incidents emerged," Cheung said.

He believed the rocketing housing prices and issues surrounding the education system were also factors. Taiwan is a favoured destination because "it is close to Hong Kong, with similar language and culture, and living costs are relatively lower."

Some 1,086 Hong Kong residents were granted residency permits last year, according to Taiwan's National Immigration Agency.

Meanwhile Centaline Immigration Consultants director David Hui said emigration inquiries from Hong Kong people had been growing, but there hadn't been as many successful cases because of stricter controls overseas.

Thirty-three-year-old Eric Tang is leaving for Canada with his wife, where they plan to have a baby in a year or two and believe they will have a better quality of life there.

Allan Zeman gave up his Canadian citizenship for Hong Kong
He said social and political factors influenced his decision, with the Occupy movement a trigger point.

"You could see Beijing is the boss and no matter who becomes the chief executive, he or she cannot implement policies that safeguard the interests of local people," he said.

Has Tang given up or is he being pragmatic? Sounds like if people have the resources to leave, they will.

His beliefs are counter to Hong Kong resident and passport holder Allan Zeman who claims he's a "localist" in that he is passionate about the city, despite not being able to speak Cantonese.

The Canadian first came to Hong Kong when he was 19 to work in the fashion business and made his first US$1 million.

"I came to Hong Kong because it's a place where you can dream at night and make it come true the next morning," he said.

That was back in 1970s when Hong Kong was at the height of being a manufacturing hub. Those days are long gone. He can still dream, but the vast majority of the population are struggling day-to-day with low wages and fewer opportunities.

No wonder people want to leave when they feel like second-class citizens in their hometown.

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