Hong Kong’s stringent pandemic control measures have taken their toll on the city’s residents, with outflows accelerating over the past two years as the city’s zero-Covid strategy continues.

Hong Kong residents are leaving the financial hub in droves due to strict pandemic measures.

Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images

Hong Kong is now in its fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The city-state’s 7.5million residents face weeks-long quarantines and mass testing, with some children quarantined away from their families if they test positive.

Even before the pandemic, many Hong Kong residents were leaving due to China’s growing surveillance of the territory. The two factors combined have created an exodus out of the city-state: Hong Kong saw a net outflow of 65,295 and 66,334 residents in February and March respectively, according to an analysis of official immigration data by the Hong Kong Free. Press. This contrasts with a net influx over the same period in 2021, the outlet added.

“We believe March/April is likely to see ‘maximum exodus’, with expats sent back either to their own countries or to Singapore in a collective loss of patience with anti-pandemic measures,” property consultancy Savills wrote. in a final report. week, citing the “unusually strict” pandemic measures in Hong Kong as a push factor.

In late March, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam called the city’s brain drain “unquestionable” – although she said it may not have been a sign of emigration since people who left could return in the future.

In recent years, countries like Australia and Canada have implemented aggressive immigration policies to attract talent in sectors like fintech and artificial intelligence. These have helped attract talent out of Hong Kong in the city’s changing political landscape, immigration expert John Hu told Insider.

Here’s where Hong Kong residents are heading.