Sixty-nine million adults in China and Hong Kong are considering immigrating to Canada, according to a recent survey.
And many of them will settle in Richmond, added Ken Tung, the former chair of SUCCESS, an immigrant services organization.
Canada, and particularly Richmond, remains an attractive destination for many Chinese immigrants, since the city already has a dense immigrant population and values inclusion, Tung explained.
The recent pilot study conducted by Hamazaki Wong Marketing Group and Vividata, a Toronto-based not-for-profit research organization, found the top three reasons people were looking to come to Canada were health care services, career and educational opportunities, and political stability.
“The chances of 69 million people actually coming to Canada is relatively slim, but what the number tells us is that Canada has a very strong standing in the world, especially in China and Hong Kong,” said Sonny Wong, president and creative director of Hamazaki Wong.
Tung isn’t surprised by the spike in interest in Canada, noting that many of the young Hong Kong graduates he’s worked with say Hong Kong isn’t the same city they once lived in and deeply loved.
For some, the closure of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily, may have been the last straw.
Apple Daily was shut down after authorities used the national security law imposed by China to freeze the company’s bank account and arrested the paper’s editor and directors. Last year, the paper’s outspoken founder Jimmy Lai was arrested and jailed under a string of charges within months of the imposition of the national security law.
“These youngsters have friends who went to the protest peacefully, but they got arrested...The freedom of the press is collapsing, and let me tell you, that’s not the end yet. Who is here to protect Hong Kong people? Why will I not leave the country if I get a chance,” said Tung, noting that Richmond could see a wave of immigration from Hong Kong similar to that experienced in the 1990s.
And it’s not just people leaving Hong Kong, money is also flowing outward.
A Reuters report said Hong Kong saw its highest capital outflow to Canada on record last year, surpassing $40 billion.
“I hope Canadians to understand why they are coming here. Hong Kongers are willing to work hard and are more than happy to contribute to the Canadian economy,” said Tung, who immigrated to Canada in the late 1980s.
“I came to Canada with a humble beginning and limited resources, but this country treats me fairly. Now my children and grandchildren are thriving here. I hope more Hong Kongers could come here to start their new journeys,” he added.