Hong Kongers eye safe haven in Richmond

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Protests in Hong Kong has increased dialogue for returning Hong Kong-Canadians | Photo: Glen Korstrom

With the unrest in Hong Kong, some in Richmond are wondering if there will be another wave of Hong Kong immigrants moving into the city.

Already, the Asian community in Richmond is seeing seminars and radio talk shows discussing the process of immigration for Hong Kong – Canadians wanting to come to Canada.

However, Ken Tin Lok Wong, a Richmond-based immigration consultant, does not believe a huge influx will arrive in Canada even though he has been receiving “plenty of immigration inquiries from Hong Kongers and those who landed as Canadian permanent residents” in the 80’s who still resides in the protesting city.

Wong said that “a mass exodus of full-on Canadian citizens from Hong Kong (moving) to Canada is unlikely” because people of Hong Kong are stuck at a crossroads having to choose between making more money in Hong Kong or living in a stable place like Canada but with less pay and higher taxes.

And for those whom money isn’t a motivator, love of the city and a refusal to leave it in its time of need, certainly is, he added.

Mark Stuart, spokesperson for The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), told the News that “the agency is aware of the situation in Hong Kong and (is) monitoring it closely.”

“The CBSA is well-prepared to handle an influx of travelers, including Canadian residents/citizens, should one occur,” said Stuart, adding that CBSA officers “work hard to process travelers in a timely fashion, while ensuring the integrity of the border process is not jeopardized.”

According to the Government of Canada, there are approximately 300,000 people in Hong Kong who are Canadian passport holders – a combination of dual-citizens of Hong Kong and Canada and just Canadians.

Wong explains that “this statistic hasn’t even mentioned the amount of permanent residents of Canada.”

Canadian citizens who are living abroad can return to Canada whenever they want as long as they pay their taxes upon arrival, however, permanent residents of Canada will need to review their statuses prior to entering the country.

Permanent residents can lose their Canadian permanent residency if they haven’t lived two of the recent five years in Canada, said Wong, adding that “CBSA are entitled to assess permanent residents of Canada” coming through the border given that those entering have a valid permanent residence card on hand.

An on-going battle between Hong Kong citizens and their government-led police have entered its 13th week of continuous protests in regards to the extradition bill, which Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam has officially withdrawn on Sept. 4.

Support, praise and disagreement regarding the situation have flooded media networks with global eyes watching the next step between Hong Kong citizens and the government of China.

Richmond News