Under China's authoritarian regime, migration from Hong Kong has witnessed a sharp increase due to excessive government crackdowns on civil liberties.
Hong Kong lost around 93,000 residents in 2020, followed by another 23,000 in 2021, marking the largest drop in Hong Kong's population since 2003 when severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) broke out across Hong Kong and mainland China, a media report said.
Several residents of Hong Kong are vacating the city to start a new life abroad amid rising fear for their future.
Hong Kong's recent emigration fair survey results showed that 79 per cent of the respondents plan to emigrate within two years, and 19 per cent intend to leave Hong Kong within six months.
The 3rd "International Immigration and Property Expo" held on June 11 and 12 did a survey that collected 35,000 surveys from prospective visitors who registered online. The survey shows that the three most popular countries are the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, accounting for 31 per cent, 22 per cent, and 21 per cent respectively.
The survey also shows that families who are financially better off tend to emigrate more - 66 per cent of the respondents have a net worth over USD 1.02 million and 17 per cent have assets worth more than USD 6.37 million. Of those who plan to leave, 30 per cent are in the group with a monthly household income over USD 20,000.
Lockdown and quarantine policies coupled with increasing Chinese interference caused many expatriates to return home to the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and other countries for good.
Earlier, the city gained an average of 53,000 new residents per year from 2015-2019 which turned out to be roughly the exact number of people who departed Hong Kong during the first two weeks of March alone, media reports said, quoting the city's Immigration Department.
For the past 60 years, Hong Kong's population has grown nearly every year, from some 3.2 million people in 1961 to 7.5 million in 2019, according to Hong Kong's Census and Statistics Department however in the last couple of years following the Chinese crackdowns people have thought about leaving, but in the last six months, there's been an absolute mass exodus.
It is estimated that 60-70 per cent of people have left in the past six to 12 months, which includes people with businesses and family in Hong Kong as well as those who were once deeply committed to staying.
The money leaving Hong Kong also signals the urgency with which people are fleeing.
The majority of the people are relocating to the United Kingdom, with more than one lakh applying to move as of March.
However, most people leaving are headed to Singapore, especially those working in finance, law, and recruitment as they people are attracted to the ease of business, family friendliness, tax incentives and open borders of Singapore.
Asian Tigers are also seeing an uptick in moves from Hong Kong to Japan, South Korea, and Thailand. Dubai is also absorbing talent from Hong Kong, like Pepsi, Unilever and P&G moved people out of Hong Kong into UAE, the media report stated.