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Friends cry at the departure gates of Hong Kong International Airport before one of them emigrates to Britain on July 19, 2021. Photo: AFP

LettersIndifference to losing Hong Kong’s talented youth will come back to hurt city

  • The government is not cherishing our local talent and is taking for granted those who have chosen to stay in Hong Kong
  • If other countries keep luring away young people we have invested in from a tender age, we will have nurtured others’ elite talent for free
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The UK government recently introduced a high potential individual visa, inviting applications from those who graduated from the world’s top 50 universities in the last five years to work in the country. The United Kingdom is also luring talent from Hong Kong via the British National (Overseas) visa scheme, allowing young people to apply for a BN(O) visa independently of their parents.
A large number of high-calibre people have already relocated. Between mid-2020 and mid-2021, nearly 90,000 residents left Hong Kong. The end-2020 to end-2021 figures showed 27,300 people leaving Hong Kong. These schemes incentivise Hongkongers to leave their home and seek new opportunities overseas.
Apart from the UK, countries such as Singapore are also beneficiaries of the exodus from Hong Kong. Our government, however, has shrugged off the phenomenon.
Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po commented that the migration wave would have minimal impact on the government’s tax revenue as there was great demand for jobs and there would also be an inflow of new talent.

I’m surprised our top officials are so indifferent to the loss of talented young people, which could have devastating repercussions. It could aggravate the problem of population ageing and cause a skills shortage in the long run. The government seems short-sighted and overconfident about Hong Kong’s appeal.


BN(O) passport holders flee Hong Kong for new life in the UK, fearing Beijing’s tightening control

BN(O) passport holders flee Hong Kong for new life in the UK, fearing Beijing’s tightening control
First, if a large number of well-educated Hongkongers currently serving in senior positions leave, there will be a knowledge vacuum. Second, Hong Kong is losing its edge in many areas.

The city’s stringent pandemic control measures are deterring talent from moving here. Real talent wouldn’t consider developing their career in a city that is falling behind and losing its importance on the international stage.

The government is not cherishing our local talent, while taking for granted those who have chosen to stay in Hong Kong. It has launched virtually no policies to retain our greatest asset, nor offered incentives for high-calibre professionals to stay.

Recruiting talent from around the world is not the panacea. If other countries keep harvesting our educated elite – whom we invested in from a tender age, until university – and we do nothing to retain them, we are in effect giving away the talent we nurtured for years for free.

Dragon Lo Koon-kit, Sha Tin