Politics, Cost of Living Push Hong Kong Residents Overseas

Prior to 1997, a flood of residents left Hong Kong’s shores, worried about what would happen when the former British colony returned to Chinese control. Now, more than 15 years after the handover, the number of people emigrating from the city has started to tick up again.

In the first six months of this year, 3,900 people emigrated away from Hong Kong, up 8% from the same period last year, according to official figures. That number is tiny compared with the hundreds of thousands of fearful residents who left before the 1997 handover bound for countries such as Canada—many who have since returned. Still, immigration consultants say, in recent months they have seen more interest from locals seeking to relocate overseas, spurred by concern about the city’s economic and political outlook.

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