Hong Kong Experiences Wave of Emigration

Due to the worsening political landscape and to strict ‘Zero-COVID’ anti-COVID measures, there has been a ‘wave of emigration’ out of Hong Kong in recent years. According to the Hong Kong Government’s figures, approximately 140,000 citizens departed from Hong Kong in the first three months of 2022. Even the vice-chairperson of the Hong Kong Federation of Educators, a pro-Chinese Communist Party trade union, at a recent press conference pointed to an “unanticipated wave of emigration.”A current affairs commentator analyzed that this year the Inland Revenue Department of Hong Kong issued 300,000 less Tax Returns than last year, indicating an emigration trend. It is expected that 99 percent will not return to Hong Kong because the Government does not have any plan for retaining talents. CY Leung, former Chief Executive of Hong Kong, mentioned that “I don’t think that those Hongkongers emigrate. I think they just “departed from Hong Kong” because they have never returned their Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passports. I believe that as long as political issues are handled well, they will return to Hong Kong as there is still huge room for Hong Kong’s development.” Designated-Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu did not answer questions directly about the wave of emigration and how to retain talents at the election forum on April 30, 2022. He just responded that Hong Kong has the rule of law to protect human rights and welcomes overseas Hongkongers to return to Hong Kong to build the city. In response to questions from members of the Legislative Council on June 6, the Financial Secretary of Hong Kong, Paul Chan Mo-po said that the Government seems to lose the tax revenue from those who leave Hong Kong, but their jobs in fact will be replaced by another person, who will also pay the tax, so they have little impact on the tax revenue. He also said, “those who leave Hong Kong temporarily, even if they move overseas, when they see Hong Kong’s rapid development, I believe many people will return to Hong Kong.” Over 140,000 People Net Outflow in Q1 According to figures from the Immigration Department of Hong Kong, the net outflow of Hong Kong’s population in the first three months of this year rose to over 140,000. In addition, according to statistics from the Census and Statistics Department, the number of people in the Hong Kong labor force fell. From March to May this year (2022), the number of employed persons was about 3.745 million, down 3.8 percent year-on-year, which was the largest decline since records began in 1982. Compared with June to August 2018, from the peak of about 4 million, the labor force decreased by about 250,000. In the same 3-month period, the number of of people employment in the retail sector was about 256,000, and the number of employment in the financial and insurance industry was about 270,000. The drop in numbers is equivalent to the people working in one of these two industries. Tim Lui Tim-leung, chairman of the Security and Future Commission (SFC), and Ashley Alder, Chief Executive Officer, also revealed in the Legislative Council in February, that SFC’s staff turnover rate increased from 5.1 percent in 2020 to 12 percent in 2021, and for junior professionals, it was as high as 25 percent. Stephen Yiu Kin-Wah, chairman of the Insurance Authority of Hong Kong, revealed in May 2022 that their employee turnover rate last year hit 16 percent, in particular the loss of law enforcement, investigation and actuarial personnel was relatively large. Eddie Yue Wai-man, head of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), was interviewed by the Hong Kong Economic Times in June 2022, and said that the staff turnover rate of the HKMA last year was 7 percent, which was higher than the previous 3 to 4 percent. Most of the personnel leaving are from technology sector. Statistics for March 2022 from the Census and Statistics Department showed that the number of employed persons in the sector of “information technology and communications” in  was 107,200, a decrease of about 2,100, or 1.9 percent from the same period last year. Trade Union: Unanticipated Massive Emigration Wave On June 20, the pro-CCP trade union “Hong Kong Federation of Educators” (HKFEW) announced the results of a survey of the early childhood education sector, and its vice-chairperson expressed at the press conference, “we didn’t anticipate that the wave of emigration would be so massive.” The survey found that since the start of the fifth wave of the epidemic, the kindergartens that responded had lost an average of 16 half-day students, accounting for about 13 percent of the enrolled number at the school; and for full-day classes, an average of 9 students had been lost, accounting for about 14 percent of the school. For preschool students, an average of 19 students had been lost which accounts for about 27 percent of the school. A member of council of the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers, said that the continuous suspensi

Hong Kong Experiences Wave of Emigration

Due to the worsening political landscape and to strict ‘Zero-COVID’ anti-COVID measures, there has been a ‘wave of emigration’ out of Hong Kong in recent years. According to the Hong Kong Government’s figures, approximately 140,000 citizens departed from Hong Kong in the first three months of 2022. Even the vice-chairperson of the Hong Kong Federation of Educators, a pro-Chinese Communist Party trade union, at a recent press conference pointed to an “unanticipated wave of emigration.”

A current affairs commentator analyzed that this year the Inland Revenue Department of Hong Kong issued 300,000 less Tax Returns than last year, indicating an emigration trend. It is expected that 99 percent will not return to Hong Kong because the Government does not have any plan for retaining talents.

CY Leung, former Chief Executive of Hong Kong, mentioned that “I don’t think that those Hongkongers emigrate. I think they just “departed from Hong Kong” because they have never returned their Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passports. I believe that as long as political issues are handled well, they will return to Hong Kong as there is still huge room for Hong Kong’s development.”

Designated-Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu did not answer questions directly about the wave of emigration and how to retain talents at the election forum on April 30, 2022. He just responded that Hong Kong has the rule of law to protect human rights and welcomes overseas Hongkongers to return to Hong Kong to build the city.

In response to questions from members of the Legislative Council on June 6, the Financial Secretary of Hong Kong, Paul Chan Mo-po said that the Government seems to lose the tax revenue from those who leave Hong Kong, but their jobs in fact will be replaced by another person, who will also pay the tax, so they have little impact on the tax revenue.

He also said, “those who leave Hong Kong temporarily, even if they move overseas, when they see Hong Kong’s rapid development, I believe many people will return to Hong Kong.”

Over 140,000 People Net Outflow in Q1

According to figures from the Immigration Department of Hong Kong, the net outflow of Hong Kong’s population in the first three months of this year rose to over 140,000.

In addition, according to statistics from the Census and Statistics Department, the number of people in the Hong Kong labor force fell. From March to May this year (2022), the number of employed persons was about 3.745 million, down 3.8 percent year-on-year, which was the largest decline since records began in 1982. Compared with June to August 2018, from the peak of about 4 million, the labor force decreased by about 250,000.

In the same 3-month period, the number of of people employment in the retail sector was about 256,000, and the number of employment in the financial and insurance industry was about 270,000.

The drop in numbers is equivalent to the people working in one of these two industries.

Tim Lui Tim-leung, chairman of the Security and Future Commission (SFC), and Ashley Alder, Chief Executive Officer, also revealed in the Legislative Council in February, that SFC’s staff turnover rate increased from 5.1 percent in 2020 to 12 percent in 2021, and for junior professionals, it was as high as 25 percent.

Stephen Yiu Kin-Wah, chairman of the Insurance Authority of Hong Kong, revealed in May 2022 that their employee turnover rate last year hit 16 percent, in particular the loss of law enforcement, investigation and actuarial personnel was relatively large.

Eddie Yue Wai-man, head of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), was interviewed by the Hong Kong Economic Times in June 2022, and said that the staff turnover rate of the HKMA last year was 7 percent, which was higher than the previous 3 to 4 percent. Most of the personnel leaving are from technology sector.

Statistics for March 2022 from the Census and Statistics Department showed that the number of employed persons in the sector of “information technology and communications” in  was 107,200, a decrease of about 2,100, or 1.9 percent from the same period last year.

Trade Union: Unanticipated Massive Emigration Wave

On June 20, the pro-CCP trade union “Hong Kong Federation of Educators” (HKFEW) announced the results of a survey of the early childhood education sector, and its vice-chairperson expressed at the press conference, “we didn’t anticipate that the wave of emigration would be so massive.”

The survey found that since the start of the fifth wave of the epidemic, the kindergartens that responded had lost an average of 16 half-day students, accounting for about 13 percent of the enrolled number at the school; and for full-day classes, an average of 9 students had been lost, accounting for about 14 percent of the school. For preschool students, an average of 19 students had been lost which accounts for about 27 percent of the school.

A member of council of the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers, said that the continuous suspension of school and online classes under COVID had increased the determination of families to emigrate.

Figures from the Education Bureau of Hong Kong show that in the 2021/22 school year, the loss of teachers in public schools and direct subsidy scheme schools reached a five-year high of between 7.5 and 8.4 percent, respectively.

The loss of teachers this year school year (2021/2022) in public sector schools reached 3,580, and 470 in direct subsidy scheme schools. The loss of teachers in public sector schools last year was 2,100, while in direct subsidy scheme schools 280 teachers were lost.

“Tax Clearance” Cases Soar by Nearly 80 Percent

The Inland Revenue Department announced on June 2 that in tax-year 2020/21, the number of tax clearance cases processed for taxpayers who were about to leave Hong Kong, was 31,000, and the relevant figure in year 2021/22 had soared to 56,000, a surge of nearly 80 percent.

Additionally, 2.47 million tax returns were issued by the Inland Revenue Department for year 2021/22, showing a drop of 300,000 from 2.77 million figure, recording a drop of 150,000 from 2.62 million total the previous year.

According to the latest figures from the Home Office of the United Kingdoms, around 19,500 people applied for BNO visas in the Q1 2022, up from 15,600 in the Q4 the previous year.

Since the visa was launched in January 2021, about 110,000 people have been granted the visa.

The market research company VOTEE conducted interviews with 993 Hong Kong citizens from April 12 to 24 2022.

They were asked if they would emigrate after the incoming Chief Executive takes charge.

About 10 percent of the respondents said “the whole family will,’where as 9 percent said “part of their family members will,’, and 34 percent said “I have the idea of emigration, but will not leave Hong Kong in the short term.” While 29 percent of the respondents said that they “will not leave Hong Kong.”

Scholars Criticize No Plan to Retain Talent

Victor Ng Ming-tak, senior banker and current affairs commentator, analyzed that the number of tax returns distributed this year (April 2022) has decreased by 300,000 compared with the previous year, which means that 300,000 people have “left Hong Kong,” of which about 200,000 families who are the “pillars of the society” are involved. The families who are leaving Hong Kong are taxpayers, which are “strong, middle-class or above”.

He predicted that “99 percent of those who leave Hong Kong will not return” because the Government has no plans to retain talent.

He also pointed out that foreign capital is gradually withdrawing from Hong Kong, while the Government is focused on the Greater Bay Area in Mainland China, which conflicts with Hong Kong’s role as an international financial center.

He questioned how the government will support high-value-added industries; without those sectors, how can the income of talent be stable and not drop lower than in previous years.

Benson Wong Wai-kwok, a former assistant professor of politics and international relations at Hong Kong Baptist University, told the Epoch Times that the biggest failure of John Lee’s “election manifesto” was his complete avoidance of the current catastrophic crisis in Hong Kong—the wave of emigration of Hongkongers.

Regarding Hong Kong’s political system, economy, education, youth, and housing issues in the past five years, Lee was just talking about himself, or just copying from the current Chief Executive’s ideas of “Integration into the Greater Bay Area” and “Focusing on the Opportunities from the Belt and Road Initiative.”

Benson Wong believed that the Government deliberately downplayed the wave of emigration because it did not want people to know how many people had emigrated.

Nie Law

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Ben Lam

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