Hong Kong: a quarter of graduates under 35 want to emigrate

Of these 16% have no intention of returning. 34.9% want to leave the city for political and social reasons; 38.1% are ready to return if the protection of personal freedoms improves. The security law torpedoes favourable business conditions. Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand are favourite destinations.


Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - A quarter of graduates under 35 are planning to move abroad for work, with 16% intending to never return to the city; 12.6% are ready to return, but only if they first obtain another nationality.

The data was contained in a survey published yesterday by Youth Ideas, a research centre linked to the main youth organizations of the former British colony. The research was carried out on a sample of 1,135 under 35s: two thirds with an income of 20 thousand Hong Kong dollars and about 15% with a monthly earning of 40 thousand HK dollars.

34.9% of those interviewed said they wanted to leave the city for political and social reasons; 38.1% are willing to return if better protection of personal freedoms is guaranteed. Since mid-2019, when massive democracy demonstrations erupted, city and central authorities have stepped up the crackdown on dissent.

According to research conducted in 2019 by the City Employment Office, by 2027 the city will have a labour deficit of 169,700 units. Other estimates speak of a shortage of 34,600 graduates.

The study's data disprove the statement by Carrie Lam’s executive that the approval of the draconian security law wanted by Beijing has improved business conditions in the city.

The favourite destinations for those who want to leave the city are Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the Americas. Following the launch of the measure in June, several countries, especially Great Britain and Canada, have taken measures to facilitate the entry of Hong Kong citizens who intend to leave the city.

Since January London has allowed holders of a British foreign national passport to apply to live and work in Great Britain. About 2.9 million Hong Kong residents can benefit, plus 2.3 million dependents. From July to January, 7,000 residents fled the city to move to the United Kingdom. British authorities expect to receive 154,000 applications this year; 322 thousand in the next five years. Beijing and the local executive have called the Johnson administration's move a serious "interference" in the country's internal affairs.

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