Fearful Of China’s New Security law, Hong Kongers Scramble For Safe Havens (Reuters)

July 6, 2020 — Many Hong Kong residents are scouring for new jobs and homes overseas, fearful that a new national security law imposed by Beijing will crush coveted rights not enjoyed on the mainland and herald a new authoritarian era for China’s freeest city.

Beijing bypassed the city’s legislature to approve the law directly this week, heightening anxiety over its impact on the former British colony of 7.4 million people that is a global financial hub and gateway for capital flows in-and-out of China.

Immigration lawyers and consultants, property agents and recruitment groups from Australia to Canada all told Reuters they were inundated with enquiries from Hong Kong residents.

“Hong Kong demand for international real estate and residency programmes has rocketed over the past few weeks,” said Georg Chmiel, executive chairman of international property portal Juwai IQI, in a statement to Reuters.

“We see it in Malaysia, Australia, the UK, Thailand, Canada, Vietnam and the Philippines.”

Juwai does not disclose numbers of enquiries, but did say Australia was the top foreign real estate investment location for Hong Kong buyers in the first half of 2020.

While leaving Hong Kong has traditionally been an alternative for the wealthy and foreign passport-holders, more middle- and working-class people are now also seeking options, especially where visas come cheaper.

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