According to the latest phone survey conducted by the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies (HKIAPS), Hong Kong citizens attached a record low score of 49.6 to Hong Kong’s livability, reflecting a substantial decline from 54.4 in September last year.
It is also the lowest score since the livability index was first released in 2007. According to HKIAPS, around 15% of surveyed citizens have prepared for emigration.
The percentage of surveyed citizens planning for emigration is the highest in the recent three years (2018-2020).
The most popular immigration destinations are the UK (23.8%), Australia (11.6%) and Taiwan (10.7%). Around 15.7% of interviewees with the intention of emigration have not decided on a destination yet.
The four most frequently mentioned local reasons for emigration are “dissatisfied with the SAR government/chief executive/senior officials/government policies” (27.3%), “too many political disputes in Hong Kong/too irritating/political instability” (23.6%), “Hong Kong’s freedom (including freedom of speech)/state of human rights deteriorates/loss of freedom of the press” (19.8%) and “no democracy in Hong Kong” (17.6%).
The top four factors that attract citizens to the destinations are: “freedom (including freedom of speech)/good state of human rights” (23.3%), “spacious living environment” (19.4%), “democratic political system” (18.7%) and “easing of immigration restrictions for Hong Kong citizens” (15.2%).
Unlike the previous three years, the top factors prompting Hongkongers to leave and influencing their choice of immigration countries are both related to the political environment.
The surveyed citizens were also asked about their opinions of emigrating to mainland China. 9.5% of respondents have plans to immigrate to mainland China, while 87.6% have no such plans.
Since the draconian national security law was imposed on Hong Kong, several Western countries including the UK and Australia have loosened the requirement of immigration for Hong Kong citizens. Canada is also considering increasing its capacity for immigrants from Hong Kong, according to Reuters.