The Security Bureau has estimated that 7,600 Hong Kong people migrated overseas in 2016. The figure was the highest over the past three years.

The figures in 2015 and 2014 were 7,000 and 6,900 respectively. The bureau does not keep direct statistics, but made the estimation on the basis of the number of “certificate of no criminal conviction” applications made to the police. Such documents are often required for those seeking to migrate.

Departure hall of the Hong Kong International Airport. Photo: GovHK.

In 2016, the most popular destination country remained the US, where 2,800 were estimated to have applied to move. It was the highest figure in five years.

The second and third most popular destinations were Australia and Canada, with 2,100 and 1,000 estimated applications – the same as previous years.

In 2006, more than 10,000 people moved away from Hong Kong. After that year, the figure remained between around 7,000 and 9,000 each year.

In 2011, 4,000 were estimated to have moved to the US, the highest number in more than 12 years.

However, the bureau noted that the estimations are limited, as not everyone who applied for the certificate would have successfully moved overseas, and some – who obtained rights to migrate – may not have moved.

Meanwhile, Taiwan’s figures showed that 1,086 Hong Kong people were granted residency permits last year.

In the first quarter of 2017, 250 Hong Kong people received residency permits.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.