Surge in number of Hongkongers eyeing move to Taiwan

Top News | Cissy So 4 Sep 2019

Applications for residency in Taiwan by Hong Kong and Macau people surged 30 percent year on year from January to July, says the Taiwanese government.

There was also a drastic increase - 20 percent year on year - in those who applied for citizenship to settle across the strait, according to Taiwan's immigration agency.

The increase started from the end of March. In the four months up to July, 1,096 people submitted applications for residency. In the same period last year, there were 788 applicants.

The agency's statistics showed 263 made applications in April. It rose to 317 in July.

The two main reasons for the applications involved having immediate family members or spouses living in Taiwan and investment.

But the timing also coincides with major events in Hong Kong.

An average of eight to nine people from Hong Kong and Macau applied to stay in Taiwan per day between March to June. However, when fugitive bill-related conflicts escalated in July, the number of applications increased to 12 people per day.

"For Hong Kong and Macau residents who want to stay in Taiwan, they have to come to Taiwan to apply for residency first," the agency said.

"Continuous residence for one year, within which they can be out of the territory for 30 days, or those who have lived continuously for two years and must live in Taiwan for more than 270 days per year, can apply for citizenship."

Meanwhile, Demosisto secretary-general Joshua Wong Chi-fung, along with lawmaker Eddie Chu Hoi-dick and former student leader Lester Shum Ngo-fai, arrived in Taiwan yesterday.

Wong hopes to gain more support from Taiwan and said his dream is "today's Taiwan, tomorrow's Hong Kong," where the SAR will become a place associated with democracy and freedom.

Three Hong Kong students who were studying in Taiwan were arrested in the recent unrest.

They have appeared in court and have been released on bail.

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