Now on their second week, massive protests in Hong Kong continued to pressure its leaders to step down and revoke a contentious extradition bill – which might lead to a significant number of expats fleeing the territory for security reasons, an industry expert stated.
Since June 9, as much as two million Hong Kongers have taken to the streets in virulent opposition to the measure. The bill has controversially proposed a mechanism for ensuring that fugitives (and other targets like political opponents) in the territory face strict trial in the mainland.
Immigration lawyer Richard Kurland stated that many Canadians who stay and work in Hong Kong might decide to pack up and return to more stable environments back home. At present, approximately 300,000 Canadians reside in the former British Colony, according to figures from Global Affairs Canada.
But Kurland warned that many provinces, especially British Columbia, are unprepared to accommodate this influx.
“B.C.’s infrastructure is at risk with a sudden mass migration of Canadians or permanent residents living in Hong Kong,” he told Global News late last week. “Education, roads, hospitals, property prices would be immediately impacted.”
Kurland added that immigration lawyers are bracing themselves for a flood of travel document applications, study/work permit requests, and permanent-resident card renewals.
Moreover, many of the expats will likely hail from the moneyed class, which is expected to have a knock-on effect upon Vancouver’s high-end housing market.
“While prices may be down, that market could see another spike up if those millionaires feel they need to protect their cash and exercise their rights to come home,” Kurland explained.