Young people quitting Hong Kong for Canada and Australia

Extradition law chaos and the city’s declining freedoms persuade locals to move to places such as Canada and Australia

Joanne Ma |

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Anti-extradition law protesters in Admiralty carry posters urging police to not use violence.

Young people are considering leaving Hong Kong because of the chaos and uncertainties about the city’s future.

Amid the turmoil caused by the controversial extradition bill and Hong Kong’s declining freedoms, immigration consulting companies have received more inquiries than before. 

According to Goldmax Immigration Consulting Co Ltd, in the past six months, more younger Hongkongers, especially new university graduates, have sought advice from the company regarding immigration. 

“Most people’s top choices are Canada and Australia because they have a programme called skilled worker immigration,” Margaret Chau, the immigration programme director, told Young Post last Friday. When asked about the exact number of youngsters who contacted them, Chau said they hadn’t kept track of it.

Although a lot of people came for consultation, not a lot were qualified because they lacked job experience, added Chau. For Canada, skilled worker immigration applicants must have at least one year of continuous work experience.

“When I am able to, I’ll really try to immigrate,” said a 16-year-old local student surnamed Chew. “As we can see in the confrontation between the police and people, this city is no longer orderly. Everything in Hong Kong seems to have become very political as well.”

He added that he might move to somewhere where a lot of Hongkongers reside, such as Australia or Canada. “Also, because I am a Singaporean passport holder, I might think about going to Singapore.”

He said that in 10 to 20 years’ time, there’s a high chance that one of Hong Kong’s core values, freedom of speech, will be gone. “I was born and raised here and I really feel like I belong here. But in this situation, when the government suppresses its citizens like that, our quality of life is hugely affected.”

Another local student surnamed Kwok, 13, from Marymount Secondary School, is also considering moving out of Hong Kong. “I don’t want the extradition law to be passed and I’m worried if I say something bad about China, I’ll be in trouble.”

Since she believed the bill would be passed soon, she said it was no longer safe to stay in Hong Kong.

However, a 16-year-old student surnamed Wong from Pui Ching Middle School thought otherwise. “I would not consider immigration. First of all, I was born and raised in Hong Kong. Because of this, I was motivated to go out and protect Hongkongers’ basic rights.”

Wong took part in the protest on Wednesday. Immigration was just a way to run away from reality, she added. If she left now, all her efforts protesting against the bill would be in vain.

Another consulting company, Anlex, told Young Post that youngsters as well as married, middle-aged people with kids had consulted them about immigration.

“Since mid-May this year, we’re seeing a noticeable increase in people who are considering moving to Canada. Most of them want to leave Hong Kong for their children’s future, because they are concerned about the city’s future,” said Keita Yuen, a Marketing Department staff member.

Chau added if teenagers want to immigrate, she would encourage them to study in Canada and Australia. “These two countries want international students to stay and contribute after their studies. Maybe this could increase their chance of immigration.”

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