HK emigrants face labor market woes

Business | Agencies and Stella Zhai 9 Sep 2020

Canada and Singapore, two popular destinations for Hong Kong emigrants, are suffering from worsening labor market conditions amid the pandemic, local surveys and government data showed.

In a study on business optimism by Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau, the indicator for employment expectations plunged to -13.19 percentage points for the fourth quarter this year, from -3.29 percentage points in the previous quarter.

The survey of 200 business owners and senior executives showed that the sentiment towards employment has worsened most in the financial, manufacturing, transportation and services sectors.

The sub-indicator in the financial sector dived to -33.33 percentage points, compared with positive 33.33 percentage points for the current quarter. Meanwhile, the sub-indicator for the manufacturing sector fell to -29.41 percentage points from zero a quarter ago, the survey showed.

Meanwhile, the overall business sentiment for the fourth quarter remains contractionary with the tracking indicator at -4.97 percentage points for the fourth quarter, up from -5.16 percentage points a quarter ago.

But the gauge has still dropped from 4.82 percentage points for the year-before period.

However, local employment sentiment improved with the measuring indicator rising from -4.98 percentage points a quarter ago to -3.29 percentage points for the last three months this year.

This follows the Canadian province of British Columbia extending the suspension of issuing immigration invitations to individuals in 31 tourism, hospitality, retail and personal services occupations. The measure under the BC Provincial Nominee Program is intended to protect local employment.

Employment in those sectors is projected to drop 70 percent this year, said the local government.

The temporary measure was launched in response to widespread unemployment in these sectors resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, said the government, which anticipated that these occupations will still be excluded for the remainder of this year.

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