23 August 2019
Rising living costs and political concerns are prompting some Hong Kong people to make fresh plans to migrate overseas, particularly to Canada. Photos: Bloomberg
Rising living costs and political concerns are prompting some Hong Kong people to make fresh plans to migrate overseas, particularly to Canada. Photos: Bloomberg

HK inflation, political concerns fuel fresh Canada interest

Difficulties in running local businesses, rising inflation and an uncertain political environment are the main reasons cited by Hong Kong people who are seeking to migrate overseas, according to a report.

Among the various options, Canada remains a favored choice for Hong Kong emigrants, Ming Pao Daily noted Tuesday.

The paper cited the case of a Hongkonger, identified by his surname — Lam, who is seeking to move back to Canada after spending the past couple of decades here.

Lam, who initially migrated to Canada when he was 11, had returned to Hong Kong to set up a business 20 years ago. But he now wants to go back as he is finding it difficult to run the business due to the renminbi’s appreciation, the report said.

Lam got married in Hong Kong and started a business with his wife to sell ballroom dancing costumes procured from mainland factories. But the renminbi’s appreciation has driven up his costs, posing a headache. 

Lam’s wife — a person surnamed Siu — added that disappointment with the Hong Kong government and inflation were also part of the reason why the couple decided to go back to Canada. Rising prices due to mainland visitors helped the duo make up its mind to leave Hong Kong, even as they have an unrealized gain of about HK$4 million on a house in Fanling.

Canada has been drawing an increasing number of applications from Hong Kong people for migration to Canada in the past couple of years. A lawyer named Lawrence Wong said the applications could be stemming from dissatisfaction with the social changes and unclear political prospects in the city, according to a separate Ming Pao report on Monday.

There were 717 applications filed for Canada migration from Hong Kong last year, up 26.2 percent from 2011 when there were 568 such applications.

Sonia Lesage, a spokesperson for the Canadian Immigration Authority, said the applications are mostly routed through the agency’s Hong Kong office. But some people also apply while they are studying or working in Canada, while some seek entry for spouses.

Wong said it will be difficult to apply unless one is fluent in English and has received an employment letter as Canada has been trimming down the migration quota in the recent past.

Alexander Ning, who works as a notary public and immigration and refugee counselor, said people who had the ability to migrate had done so before 1997, when Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule. Wannabe migrants who are still in Hong Kong either do not have enough capital or were unable to meet other conditions, he said. 

He added that uneasy living conditions in Canada had stopped some Hong Kong people from applying for migration. The surge in Canada application number might not be all contributed by Hong Kong people, but might include mainlanders who received Hong Kong identity cards in recent years, Ning said.

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