UK top choice as more mull exodus

Local | Sophie Hui 14 Jul 2020

Half of all respondents in a survey said they would like to immigrate in three to 10 years, with many choosing the United Kingdom as their preferred destination.

Midland Immigration Consultant and Midland Global last week polled 300 people - including 168 British National (Overseas) passport holders.

Its researchers reported that almost one third of the espondents planned to immigrate in one to three years.

More than half said their desire to immigrate rose after the UK government offered BN(O) passport holders a chance to stay and apply for citizenship.

The results follow announcements by both the UK and Australian governments that they would offer pathways to citizenship for eligible Hongkongers. The UK's decision means that around 350,000 BN(O) passport holders, alongside 2.6 million others who are eligible, will be able to live and work in Britain.

Tina Cheng Tin-yan, senior director of business strategy at the immigration consultancy, believed there would not be a large number of people migrating in the short term as people need to be well prepared.

"Chinese people also emphasize filial piety. If their elderly family members would like to stay in Hong Kong, they will make certain arrangements before they leave the city, so not many people can leave in a short time," she said.

But she said the consultancy received nearly 600 inquiries last month, over 4.3 times more than a year ago, after countries such as the UK and Australia eased their immigration requirements.

Asked where they want to go, Britain is the most popular choice at 74 percent, with some 35 percent choosing Australia.

Other choices included Asian countries, Canada, the United States and several European countries.

Cheng said that many Hongkongers believe migrating to the UK via a BN(O) is "zero cost" now.

"The British government announced latest arrangements for BN(O) passport holders whereby people do not need to invest an additional amount of money to migrate now, so many Hongkongers would consider moving to Britain with their BN(O)," she said.

Cheng said many parents would also consider moving to Australia as they want their children to study there, due to a low language barrier as an English-speaking country.

Around 80 percent said they were interested in buying a home overseas, with one tenth having already paid for one.

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