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More Hong Kongers seeking to move to Taiwan

2019/11/22 16:11:19

CNA file photo

Taipei, Nov. 22 (CNA) The number of Hong Kong residents approved to take up residency in Taiwan during the first 10 months of this year totaled 4,352, up 21 percent from a year earlier, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) said Thursday.

Citing statistics compiled by the National Immigration Agency (NIA), Chiu told a weekly news briefing that most Hong Kong residents moved to Taiwan to study, get married with local citizens or entered the country on investor and dependence visas.

However, Chiu did not give an answer when asked by reporters if the rising number of Hong Kong residents choosing to reside in Taiwan is due to the ongoing clashes between protesters and police since protests over an extradition bill started in June.

He said that the recent passage of a Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy bill by the U.S. Congress has put greater pressure on the Hong Kong authorities which have resorted to the use of force against pro-democracy demonstrators.

At the same time, more Taiwanese students have returned home from Hong Kong, where rioting has lasted nearly six months, Chiu said.

As of 4 p.m. Thursday, 685 Taiwanese students had returned, according to Chiu. There were 1,021 Taiwanese students in Hong Hong before the anti-government protests erupted in June.

Meanwhile, several universities in Taiwan have extended a helping hand to students studying in Hong Kong willing to transfer to Taiwan on exchange or special programs.

National Taiwan University said that 562 students in Hong Hong have applied to study as exchange students, including 289 Taiwanese students and 168 Hong Kong students, with the rest from China, North America, Europe, Australia and several Asian countries.

Since June, the number of Hong Kong residents applying for residence permits has jumped by double digits, NIA data showed.

In June and July, 681 Hong Kong residents applied to reside in Taiwan, a year-on-year increase of 45.5 percent. The annual growth rate recorded for July alone was 64 percent.

Following the pro-democracy umbrella movement in September 2014, the number of Hong Kong applicants for Taiwan residence permits hit a record high of more than 8,000 in 2015, with 7,506 obtaining the permit, NIA tallies showed.

From the start of this year until Aug. 11, the number was 2,027, an increase of 14.33 percent from a year earlier.

In a survey by Chinese University of Hong Kong in early 2019, Taiwan was chosen by 11.3 percent Hong Kong respondents as their most favored emigration destination, placing it third after Canada (18.8 percent) and Australia (18 percent).

Immigration consultants in Taiwan said a larger number of Hong Kong citizens have approached them for information recently, which they attributed to recent rioting in the territory.

(By Flor Wang and Miao Chung-han)
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