More people from financially troubled countries move to work in Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 December, 2012, 4:55am

More people from the economically troubled euro-zone countries of Spain, Italy and Greece are moving to Hong Kong to work, immigration figures show.

The number of work visas granted this year to Spaniards, Italians and Greeks up until last month was 681, compared to 599 for the whole of last year.

Spaniards were granted 239 work visas for the first 11 months of the year, compared to last year's total of 189. In 2008, just 96 were approved. The Spanish consulate's citizens department confirmed that there were 1,064 registered citizens in Hong Kong, up from 739 in 2009.

For Greeks, 31 were granted work visas this year up until last month, up from last year's 28.

Italy also provided a steady stream of new migrants, with 411 visas approved so far this year, up from 382 last year.

While the number of Britons granted work visas up until November this year was 3,815 - fewer than last year's 3,907 - figures show an increase in approvals in the last five months compared with those in the first half of the year.

Between July and November, 1,996 Britons were granted work visas, up from 1,819 between January and June.

A similar trend was also evident for Irish workers, with 144 work visas granted between July and November, up from the 115 in the first half of the year.

The French community in Hong Kong - the biggest in Asia, having grown by 60 per cent between 2008 and last year - has added 1,056 new workers to the city from January to last month.

In all, 26,905 work visas under the general employment policy were granted in the first 11 months of the year, excluding mainlanders, domestic helpers and certain schemes for labourers and graduates.