More Hong Kongers
By Lin Mei-fen and Jason Pan / Staff reporter, with staff writer
A call by Hong Kong activists to “evacuate to Taiwan” appears to have hit a
nerve, with government data showing a sixfold increase in the number of
applications for residency from Hong Kongers.
The National Immigration Agency (NIA) said it received an average of 100 such
applications per month between January and August. However, 632 applications
were filed in September, the most recent data available.
Applications by residents of Hong Kong and Macau to live in Taiwan totaled 1,598
through August, while there were 486 applications for permanent residency during
the same period.
Residents of the two former colonies can apply for permanent residency after
living in Taiwan for a specific period of time and the figures are seen as
“leading indicators” of an intention to settle in Taiwan, an agency official
“We have definitely seen an increasing trend in the past few years. We had a
historic high last year in the number of Hong Kongers applying for residency in
Taiwan. The amount of applications for permanent residence also hit a new high
last year since China took over Hong Kong [in 1997],” the official said.
There has been a growing groundswell of discontent in Hong Kong in recent
months, with massive protests being held against the government. The situation
has been exacerbating by the skyrocketing price of housing and falling wages,
along with many Hong Kong residents feeling that their social welfare
entitlements are being squeezed by the upsurge in Chinese residents in the
Media in Hong Kong have been reporting on a generation of “angry youth,” who are
prompting the calls to emigrate.
The Hong Kong government last month granted television broadcast licenses to two
networks, both controlled by business tycoons, while denying a license to Hong
Kong Television Network, which is perceived as more aligned with democracy and
media freedom causes. The decision led to more than 100,000 people attending
anti-government rallies to protest the move.
Some young people have initiated an “Evacuate to Taiwan” campaign on their
Facebook pages, which has received a positive response and appears to be
gathering steam among the territory’s youth.
The Rules Governing Permits for People from Hong Kong and Macau Setting Up
Residence or Permanent Residence in Taiwan (香港澳門居民進入臺灣地區及居留定居許可辦法) set out the
requirements that residents of the former British colony who wish to move to
Taiwan must follow.
Like other foreigners, some Hong Kongers can come to Taiwan on employment
contracts, or if they possess special skills.
Hong Kong residents can also apply under the “investment immigrant” category if
they invest NT$5 million (US$169,000) or more in Taiwan or deposit NT$5 million
or more into a Taiwanese bank account for more than a year.
Analysts say the amount, equivalent to about HK$1.35 million, would only buy
about 1 ping (3.305m2) of property in the territory’s pricey hillside