Chinese cuisine

Richmond could see a huge wave of immigrants from Hong Kong, councilor says

The influx of immigrants will benefit Richmond, the Richmond councilman said.

Richmond should prepare for a massive influx of Hong Kongers, said Richmond City Councilor Chak Au.

“Although the wave of immigration is going to be a huge loss for Hong Kong, it will turn out to be a huge gain for Canada, since most of these arrivals are young talents from Hong Kong,” Au said.

Nearly 14,500 Hong Kongers applied to work and study in Canada last year, the South China Morning Post reported citing Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

In 2021, IRCC established a new immigration pathway for Hong Kong residents, requiring them to meet only minimum language and education levels and have one instead of two years of work experience in Canada before obtaining permanent residence.

The new policy has resulted in a significant increase in inquiries.

Last year alone, around 9,100 Hong Kongers applied for work permits in Canada and 5,355 expressed interest in studying here.

Au said many of them would consider making Richmond their home due to the fact that there is already a large Hong Kong population here and Richmond’s thriving Asian food scene.

The influx of immigrants would benefit Richmond as many are highly skilled professionals, Au added.

“They were doctors, financial advisers, university professors and journalists in Hong Kong. Now they are ready to integrate and contribute to the local community,” Au said, adding that he knows a Hong Kong man who just got a job at the Richmond Hospital.

The potential wave of immigrants to hit Canadian shores is a direct result of the national security law imposed by the Chinese government in 2020, according to Au. The law gives the government sweeping new powers to oversee media, schools, social organizations and online activities. It also allows China to extradite people from Hong Kong to face the Chinese justice system.

“Journalism is currently considered the most dangerous profession in Hong Kong, and unfortunately many reputable people’s organizations have had to close their offices in Hong Kong due to personal safety concerns,” Au said.

But some Hong Kongers have refused to leave their country because they want to fight until the last moment, Au added.