British Columbia might be unprepared to cope with a flood of expats fleeing Hong Kong’s current turmoil, immigration lawyer Richard Kurland warned.
“B.C.’s infrastructure is at risk with a sudden mass migration of Canadians or permanent residents living in Hong Kong,” he told Global News late last week. “Education, roads, hospitals, property prices would be immediately impacted.”
Kurland stated that immigration lawyers are bracing themselves for a deluge of requests for travel documents, study/work permit requests, and renewals of permanent-resident cards.
Massive protests have raged in Hong Kong since June 9, with more than two million people calling for the territory’s leaders to resign and withdraw a controversial extradition bill.
The contentious legislation includes a mechanism that would give the territory’s government the power to hand over fugitives (and other targets like political opponents) to mainland China, where they will face harsh trial and penalties under an authoritarian regime.
Figures from Global Affairs Canada indicated that around 300,000 Canadians reside in Hong Kong at present – and many of them might choose to go back to a safer and more stable Canada, Kurland said.
Moreover, many of these expats will likely be part of the multi-million-dollar class, in turn strongly influencing Vancouver’s already red-hot housing market.
“While prices may be down, the [high-end] market could see another spike up if those millionaires feel they need to protect their cash and exercise their rights to come home,” Kurland explained.
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