Hongkongers have enough reasons to migrate. And the question is how an International Charter City (ICC) can help the migrating Hongkongers live a better life? Let’s find out
Why Hongkongers Are Migrating?
According to a survey conducted in October 2019, 40% of the people living in Hong Kong showed an interest in emigrating.
Unlike other countries where people look at emigration as a route for better education or job prospects, in Hong Kong, the desire to move abroad is fueled in part by the political unrest and the anti-extradition protests in Hong Kong.
Another key difference in this case is that Hongkongers are not looking at migrating alone. Instead, they are considering emigrating as a group to explore International Charter Cities.
What Is An International Charter City (ICC)?
An ICC refers to setting up a new city within a developing country for migrants. The city is granted special jurisdiction that allows them to create a new governance system.
In the case of Hong Kong, the plan is for these cities to have 50% of their residents as host residents and 50% as migrants from Hong Kong.
Finding a country at which a charter city will be set up depends on visa waivers offered to Hong Kong citizens, political support offered, ease of integration and grant access to land on which the city can be built.
The Victoria Harbor Group And ICC
The Victoria Harbor Group was formed in 2019 to look for sites where a new charter city can be set up. The group is setting up a for-profit company to develop the city and a foundation that helps people emigrate from Hong Kong to these cities.
For this the foundation will raise money through donations and use its dividends. The group is currently looking at setting up charter cities in Ireland and two other countries.
Why Should Countries Consider Hosting Charter Cities?
Setting up a charter city is beneficial not just for the migrants but also for the host country. With the incoming migrant population, the host country gets economically active, skilled, educated citizens who can generate economic output.
The taxes paid by these migrants will also help subsidize the costs for the existing population. The new cities and the industries that come with them can also help develop the area.
Given Hong Kong’s status as a manufacturing hub, the International Charter Cities will have an industrial campus to attract manufacturers.
The Future For Hong Kong
The protests in Hong Kong have made the Victoria Harbor Group accelerate their timeline to help Hong Kong citizens emigrate.
The group aims at finalizing an agreement on a site for an International Charter City within the next 12 months and setting up temporary housing to let the first group of migrants shift within 18 months.
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