A visa to Australia might be easier for Hong Kong residents looking to move to Australia. There’s a lot of negative press and myths about how difficult it is to successfully apply for a visa to Australia.
As an Australian migration expert, Aejis feels it’s our duty to clarify these myths and provide a clear picture of the visa options available to Hong Kong citizens.
A Surge of Visa Applications From Hong Kong
Australia saw a surge of visa applications from Hong Kong by the end of August 2019. That was before COVID-19 or the new security law from Mainland China.
Australia was the top destination for Hong Kong emigrants in 2018 with nearly a third (2,400) of the 7,600 Hong Kong Nationals to emigrate that year going to Australia. With the political crisis engulfing Hong Kong the situation looks more uncertain now than ever before.
The result is that many are now considering emigrating. Traditionally, the US and the UK were popular emigration choices for Hong Kong nationals.
However, with the uncertain political situation between China and the US and a post-Brexit UK, Australia is the best option for Hongkongers looking to make a move.
Australia has long been a preferred destination for emigrating Hongkongers, desired for its weather, political stability, similar time zone, and existing family ties. Australia and Hong Kong have always maintained an excellent relationship.
But, political instability isn’t the only driving force behind the surge in Australian Visa requests. Hong Kong is becoming increasingly expensive, and for some, it just doesn’t make economic sense especially considering housing prices.
In fact, Chinese territory’s sky-high property prices are one of the many reasons why people started protesting in Hong Kong. Other factors contributing to the large emigration numbers are a lack of job opportunities for fresh graduates and an evergrowing distrust in the state education system.
The 3 main Categories of Hong Kong Migrants Relocating to Australia
The 3 main categories of Hong Kong migrants relocating to Australia:
- Families with young children looking for more affordable housing
- Young professionals looking for better job opportunities; and good schools for their children
- Baby boomers interested in retiring
In December 2018 the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at CUHK conducted a survey on the views of emigration in Hong Kong. The survey found that one third (34%) of the respondents indicated they would emigrate if they had the chance.
Among those who would like to move, 16.2% had acted to prepare for the move (equivalent to 5.5% of the total number of the respondents).
“Hong Kongers generally are quality candidates for immigration. They are educated, they have money, they’re very savvy and we like getting them. The quality of the applicants tends to be very good.”
A breakdown to the tendency of emigration by age groups or levels of education indicated that the younger generation (18–30, 51%) had a higher tendency to emigrate than did the older generation (51 and over, 21.1%).
Moreover, more respondents with college or higher education (47.9%) indicated their intention to emigrate compared with the number of people of other levels of education.
For the respondents intending to move, the top three push factors were “too much political dispute / social cleavage” (25.7%), “overcrowded living conditions” (25.7%), and “dissatisfied with the political institutions” (17.4%).
The top three pull factors were “ample living space” (35%), “better air quality, less pollution and beautiful environment” (22.3%), and “more liberty and better conditions for human rights” (15.6%).
Although the visa process for Australia can be difficult to navigate, Australia welcomes and values Hong Kong applicants.
A senior Australian official was quoted saying this about Hong Kong emigrants: “Hong Kongers generally are quality candidates for immigration. They are educated, they have money, they’re very savvy and we like getting them. The quality of the applicants tends to be very good.”
Hong Kongers are valued for their entrepreneurial skills and professional qualifications as well as their commitment to education.
Another factor Australian officials take into consideration is that Hong Kongers leaving their country are likely to be individuals who value liberty. They want to live in a country where liberty is protected and Australia welcomes this.
It’s not likely that the Australian government will openly admit they’re favouring Hong Kong nationals or increasing their quota for the region, as this would antagonise China unnecessarily.
But, this is a golden opportunity for Australia to attract talented and skilled people from Hong Kong. Which leads us to the importance of clearing up any myths.
Unfounded Myths About Australian Visas
You have to be employed or have an employment letter/offer/contract to receive a visa
You do not need to be employed, or have an offer of employment to be able to receive a visa that will allow you to work in Australia. A good example of this is the skilled visa and distinguished talent visa programs.
An Australian visa takes 6 to 30 Years to Process
Most visa applications take between 18-24 months to be processed, and not between 6-30 years.
You will have to do rural work somewhere on a farm or the outback i.e. cattle ranching or fruit picking
You do not need to do rural work (i.e fruit picking) to be eligible for a work visa. This only applies to people who wish to apply for multiple working holiday visas (i.e backpackers)
You need to be married to an Australian citizen or permanent resident to be able to apply for a visa
You do not need to be married to an Australian citizen or permanent resident to be eligible for a visa. If applying for a partner visa you can also be in a de facto relationship. If applying for any other type of visa being married is not a prerequisite.
The borders in Australia are closed due to COVID-19 and you can’t apply for a visa
The closure of the borders for non-citizens/permanent residents because of COVID-19 does not prevent anyone from starting or continuing the process of applying for a visa. This is still business as usual and it is possible to apply for, and be granted, a visa whilst outside Australia.
Australia is an excellent emigration destination for Hong Kong residents.
The process doesn’t need to be as tedious as the myths suggest.
Speak to a migration expert to see what visa option suits your needs.