Photo courtesy of Ryan Mac.

Talent crunch threatens Hong Kong’s financial sector as expats flee: report

Inconveniences in overseas travelling may reportedly turn away much-needed talent.

Hundreds, possibly thousands, of foreign expatriate professionals, many working for Hong Kong’s financial industry, have left or are planning to leave the city.

The city’s strict coronavirus restrictions were cited as a primary reason for expats to flee, according to a report by Reuters.

"The hotel quarantine made it just so tough for people to travel and that was the big incentive to be in Hong Kong, it was close to home and my parents. But you cannot do that long in hotel quarantine with kids," said Tania Sibree, who worked as a financial services lawyer in Hong Kong for five years in Hong Kong, but has since quit her high-paying job in late 2021 and moved back to Australia.

It’s a sentiment shared by other expats currently working in Hong Kong. More than 40% of members recently surveyed by the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong said they were more likely to leave Hong Kong, with most citing international travel restrictions as the leading factor.

"The summer in Hong Kong will be the time when many people will throw in the towel and think to themselves 'This is just untenable'," one capital markets investment banker reportedly said, on the condition of anonymity. 

"As a banker right now you're much better off being based in Singapore. You can travel, and once or twice a year you could bite the bullet and come to Hong Kong and do the quarantine if you need to."

Here’s more from Reuters.

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