More Expats Could Leave Hong Kong Due To Tough Covid Laws, Reveals Survey

According to a key business group, more than 40 per cent of its members are considering leaving Hong Kong because of the city’s draconian coronavirus regulations.

Border closures, according to the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, are a key issue for those polled.

The president of the organisation has stated that she has already left Hong Kong.

As part of mainland China’s strict zero-Covid policies, the Asian financial hub has among of the strictest coronavirus rules in the world.

The 2022 Business Sentiment Survey of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong polled 262 individuals and corporate representatives, many of whom had recently relocated to the city from other parts of the world.

It was discovered that 44 per cent of people claimed they might leave Hong Kong because of its border controls and social restrictions.

In comparison, 26 per cent of the businesses polled said they were considering relocating.

“Companies are not keen to go – but for the staff there are all sorts of issues. Because they have personal lives, they have anxieties, they have families back home,” AmCham HK’s outgoing-president Tara Joseph said.

“One of the things that’s really hurting at this point is there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.

According to the poll, Hong Kong’s Covid-19 restrictions are causing major disruptions to businesses, delaying new investment and making it difficult to recruit personnel.

Businesses, on the other hand, are optimistic about their prospects in the city, according to the survey. This is especially true in the financial services area, with over a third of respondents claiming that Hong Kong has improved its regional competitiveness in wealth management in the last three years. Many of those polled also stated that while some businesses and individuals left the city, new opportunities arose.

While businesses were generally upbeat, deteriorating US-China ties, the high cost of living, and other factors raised concerns.

Almost 70 per cent of respondents said their trust in Hong Kong’s rule of law had deteriorated in the previous year, citing events such as the imprisonment of millionaire Jimmy Lai and Hong Kong’s government’s growing ties to Beijing as factors.

Joseph is one of the city’s expats who has chosen to depart.

She is now back in the United States and will step down as president of AmCham HK in March, claiming she has been unable to return to the city because Hong Kong closed its border with the United States.

“Even if I wanted to go back, I couldn’t,” she said about the city she’s called home for the past 20 years.

“I feel sad but I’m a realist. I would love to see Hong Kong succeed.”

(Adapted from

Categories: Economy & Finance, Entrepreneurship, Geopolitics, Regulations & Legal, Strategy, Sustainability

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