Hong Kong may see a fresh wave of emigration as residents consider living abroad after the 2017 chief executive election, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported on Monday.
Those considering moving overseas are looking at neighboring countries such as Taiwan, Malaysia and South Korea, as opposed to traditional destinations like Great Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia and other English-speaking countries, according to immigration consultants.
An increase in the number of inquiries about immigration as well as actual applications has been noted recently, Benny Cheung Ka-hei, director of Goldmax Immigration Consulting Co. Ltd., was quoted as saying.
“It is more of an issue of confidence about what lies ahead, just like what was seen in 1997,” Cheung said. “The only difference is that immigration this time has a rather pragmatic purpose, while the one before the 1997 handover was more of a panic.”
“In contrast to the pre-1997 emigration wave, which was fueled by fears about the city being under Communist rule, the one we anticipate in the near future is a consequence of what people have already seen, such as changes in the political and economic situation, education, housing and living standards,” he added.
Cheung said his consulting firm has noted an increase in the number of Hong Kong clients seeking to live abroad, with a ratio of six mainlanders for every four Hongkongers, compared with one Hong Kong resident for every nine mainlanders right after the sovereignty handover in 1997.
Eddie Kwan, founder of EK Immigration Consulting Ltd., said immigration inquiries received by his company has tripled recently.
The inquiries are mostly from retirees, those who want their children to study overseas, or immigrants who want their families to live with them abroad.
Raymond, a long-time journalist in Hong Kong, has moved to Taipei after living for three years in Beijing.
He and his wife now run a coffee shop in the Taiwanese capital. They have to spend NT$3 million (US$99,784) every year to renew their right of abode.
But the couple have no regrets about their decision, noting that they find life in Taipei better than in Hong Kong.
Currently, one needs to spend about NT$6 million to immigrate to Taiwan, M$350,000 (US$109,461) to M$500,000 to Malaysia, and US$500,000 to US$700,000 to South Korea.
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