Executive of Hong Kong has appointed Vincent Lee as a panel member of the
Securities and Futures Appeals Tribunal from 1 April 2003 to 31 March 2005.
This Tribunal reviews the decisions made by the Securities and Futures
Commission (SFC), the HK Monetary Authority (HKMA), and the Investor
Compensation Company. The purpose is to have an effective safeguard to
ensure that the relevant regulatory decisions are reasonable and fair.
- 1 Apr 2003
Hong Kong immigration to Canada has flat-lined
Immigration from Hong Kong to Canada has plummeted
from its 1993 peak of 43,000 landings to fewer than 4,000 a year.
As recently as 1997, Hong Kong ranked at the top of
Canada's source countries list with 22,250 landings, according to Ottawa's
The following year, Hong Kong dropped to fifth, then to
13th in 1999 with 3,664 landings, behind countries such as Russia, 12th, and
Sri Lanka, ninth.
"Hong Kong is dead as a doornail when it comes to
immigration and real estate investment in Canada," said Vancouver
lawyer Peter Scarrow, a veteran immigration consultant.
Mainland China has taken over as the leading source
country, with 19,764 landings in 1998 and 29,095 in 1999, and those numbers
are expected to grow.
In the first half of the 1990s, the exodus from Hong Kong
never dropped below 30,000 a year, most of them settling in Greater
Vancouver, Canadian government tracking shows.
The outflow was driven by fears arising from the 1989
Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing, along with the uncertainty surrounding
the then-looming 1997 return of the British colony's sovereignty to China.
However, with the earlier fear factors removed, the
prospect of better job and investment opportunities have lured many of those
emigrants back. Meanwhile, Canada's economic climate and taxation levels now
discourage others from wanting to leave the Hong Kong special administrative
region at all.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce here has estimated more
than 300,000 Chinese-Canadians have left Canada in the last several years
because of what they perceive as unfavourable tax policies or poor
The reverse flow has been blamed by many B.C.
entrepreneurs for crashing Vancouver's property market, particularly on the
city's west side, where land title searches show about 75 per cent of
million dollar-plus homes had been purchased in the early and mid-1990s by
people with Chinese surnames.
"With the nervousness over the 1997 handover gone and
the economic factors in Canada, it's quite natural for them to come
back," Canadian consul-general Colin Russel said in an interview.
"The flow to Canada is way down, but that's what you
would normally expect from a base of seven million people."
Critics are less charitable. They blame the stampede back
to Hong Kong and other parts of Asia on Canada's high taxes, poor job
prospects and controversial measures such as the foreign-assets disclosure
"They don't like Canada's tax policies, couldn't find
a job, or there was no opportunity to expand a business," said
Vancouver expatriate Patrick Lau, executive director of Hong Kong-based
U-Cyber Technology Holdings Ltd.
"Many people have surrendered their [entry]
Ottawa estimates there are about 150,000 Canadian passport
holders living in Hong Kong, or some 30,000 to 40,000 more since the
territory's July 1, 1997 handover.
However, business community leaders put the number of
Canadians closer to 500,000 since many of them hold dual citizenship and can
enter the territory with their Hong Kong identity cards rather than Canadian
Russel concedes it is difficult to determine the exact
number of Canadians residing in Hong Kong since Ottawa doesn't specifically
track the movement of its citizens.
"China will be the dominant source country over the
next number of years," Russel said.
Scarrow said Canada is portrayed in China as a
"garden of pleasure" for older people, as "heaven" for
children, and a "land of abundance" for adults generally.
Canadian society is likened to a "large extended
family, where people from all over the world get along."
These are among the reasons China has overtaken both Hong
Kong and Taiwan as Canada's top source of individual and business
immigration recently, said Scarrow, an associate with the Grandall Legal
Group, the largest Chinese law firm based in Shenzhen, Shanghai and Beijing.
"The future of substantive business between Vancouver
and Greater China has now shifted to China itself. China is now the main
"Hong Kong and Taiwan are now history."
Taiwan, which ranked fourth in 1997 with 13,320 landings
in Canada, fell to sixth place in 1998 with 7,181 landings and to eighth in
1999 with 5,461.
Scarrow noted China's market economy has generated an
increasing number of private enterprises, resulting in a growing number of
people acquiring wealth and influence.
Some of the large immigration consulting firms -- there
are about 10 in China -- are generating more than $10 million US in revenue
each year, he said.
"Business immigrants from China are more inclined to
do business in Canada," said Scarrow, who previously did immigration
consulting work in Taiwan and remains corporate counsel for Vancouver-based
"They're there for the long term, compared with
people from Hong Kong or Taiwan who view Canada as a stepping stone to get a
passport and get out."
Meanwhile, independent-class immigrants -- mainly skilled
workers or professionals, as opposed to entrepreneurs or investors in the
business class -- from China also tend to stay, Scarrow said.
"That's what Canada wants, to be able to import more
Another advantage, Scarrow said, is that unlike Hong Kong
and Taiwan, where the climate is tropical, many Chinese citizens hail from
northern China, where temperatures can dip below freezing levels.
"They're [accustomed] to cold climate, so it's okay
for some of them to choose places like Edmonton or Calgary."
Scarrow said mainland Chinese have always possessed a
desire for Canada, but it has only been in recent years the Chinese
government has relaxed its rules to allow more citizens to qualify for exit
He pointed to a page in a Shenzhen daily newspaper that
contained large display ads for eight consulting firms, although the word
"immigration" is censored.
The page highlights educational facilities offshore,
including an ad for Royal Roads University in Victoria.
"What do they like about Canada? For the independent,
they get paid much more in Canada," Scarrow said. "The cities are
beautiful and there are social benefits.
"Chinese cities are so congested. Canada offers wide
open spaces, a better environment and quality of life. They like all the
things we [Canadians] like about Canada."
As well, mainland Chinese are less concerned about
Canadian taxes or the foreign assets reporting requirements because they're
generally not as wealthy as people from Hong Kong or Taiwan, Scarrow said.
"Mainland Chinese don't like their educational
system, as it's difficult to get their children into university."
After China, Canada's leading sources of immigration are
India, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Korea and Iran. - Wyng