Expats Continue to Flock to Hong Kong

Record numbers of work visa were issued to expats last year under Hong Kong’s General Employment Scheme according to figures from the Immigration Department.

Last year over 3,907 UK citizens and 4,290 Americans were issued work visas in Hong Kong, representing an increase of 45 percent and 96 percent year on year. This represented a record number of people wishing to work in Hong Kong according to figures that were recently released by the HK Immigration Department and published in UK newspaper The Telegraph.

The Chinese S.A.R., which is both a major financial and business hub employs a large number of finance professionals, executive managers and teachers. The country remains extremely popular to expatriate audiences as it offers low tax rates, high standards of living and an exciting lifestyle in a predominantly English-speaking environment. However, despite the fact that many expatriates complain about the pollution levels and lack of spaces at the high-quality international schools, it appears that the city continues to attract people from all over the world.

Over the past ten years the number of work visas issued in Hong Kong has grown 65 percent to reach a record high of 30,557 last year. Talking to the Telegraph, Simon Walker from global recruitment specialists Hydrogen attributed this rise to resource requirements: “In certain areas there are acute skills shortages, and in these cases some firms are considering international talent where the domestic talent pool is unable to keep up with demand.

“This is not a new trend but the rapid pace of growth in Asia has accelerated the gap between supply and demand.”

While Hong Kong and Singapore remain rivals in the bid to attract expat talent and foreign investment, the 2012 Mercer Cost of Living Survey placed Hong Kong three places behind Singapore in the list of the world’s most expensive cities in which to live at Position 9.

Are you one of the thousands of people who are relocating to Hong Kong? Check out our guide to living and working in Hong Kong.