Hong Kong has seen an exodus of expatriates from the United States, UK and Australia across the last year, according to the latest figures from the jurisdiction’s Immigration Department.
The UK saw the biggest percentage drop (10.64%) in their numbers, while the number of Americans and Australians fell by about 8% and 5% respectively, according to the report, published in The South China Morning Post.
Malaysia, Portugal, Japan, Canada, Indonesia and Singapore also saw declines in the number of their citizens living in the city during the same period, albeit to a lesser extent.
Jon Boag, director of relocation company Swift Relo, told the SCMP that it had been a “very busy summer” and he had seen an increase in business. He said those who chose to leave Hong Kong often cited pollution as a key factor as well as new employment opportunities, adding that some only saw Hong Kong as a temporary home and had “just had enough here”.
“Those who leave the city generally repatriate to Europe, Australia, the US, while some relocate to Singapore for a new job,” Boag told The SCMP. “The cost of moving has decreased as freight rates were lower this year. Swift Relo, which we established six years ago, helps more than 1,000 families move every year.”
A spokeswoman for professional movers Asian Tigers Mobility said the US was increasingly the favoured destination for those leaving Hong Kong, followed by Singapore, Britain, mainland China, Germany and Japan.
The company, along with competitors Crown Relocations, reported a significant drop in the number of people moving to Hong Kong this year compared to last year, with the latter citing a 5 to 10 per cent decrease in inbound movers as well as an overall reduction in shipping units.