HOTELS & TOURISM | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Expats eye retreat from Hong Kong amidst unrest

Applications for general employment visas dropped 7% in August.

Hong Kong’s status as one of the world's biggest financial and commercial hubs is increasingly under threat as expats and their employers weigh the costs of committing to a city mired in its worst political crisis since the handover to China in 1997.

Also read: Tourist arrivals plunge 40% in August in sharpest decline since SARS crisis

Applications for general employment visas dropped 7% YoY in August, after rising on an annual basis for most of 2019, according to official figures. The number of mobile residents also fell 4.1% in H1 in the biggest decline in a decade.

Also read: Expat living is cheaper in Singapore than Hong Kong: study

The city is home to over 650,000 foreign residents by the end of 2018, in addition to more than one million individuals from mainland China.

Online forums now feature expats debating whether to leave Hong Kong to give birth, whether it's safe to let their kids take mass transportation, and whether to move out of the city for good.

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