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Australia Welcomes Top Talent from Hong Kongers Leaving the City, Minister Says

Many students and highly talented people in Hong Kong are considering leaving the city. This follows the implementation of the new security law there. Australia welcomes any of these individuals, according to Alan Tudge, Australian minister for population cities and urban Infrastructure.

Tudge stated that Australia wants to attract people who are capable of positively contributing to its economy. They are offering 5-year visas and paths to full citizenship in the country.

Authorities in Canberra stated a week earlier that the country will help people planning to move out of Hong Kong. This was after President Xi Jinping signed to approve the new security Law. The law, which prohibits secession, state power subversion, terrorism, and foreign interference, came to effect on 2 July.

Australia is just another nation coming forward to help Hong Kongers restart their lives abroad. The country is following Taiwan and the UK, who have also extended resettlement offers for departing residents.

Speaking in disapproval, many critics say that China’s decision to implement the law goes against Hong Kong’s “promised autonomy” 50 years ago, during its handover from the British Government in 1997.


Hong Kongers are Welcome in Australia

Tudge made comments on Australia’s position on China’s decision on Hong Kong. He stated that, as an immigrant nation, Australia is always on the lookout for top talent from around the world. He added that, since the “circumstances” in Hong Kong “have changed”, those looking to relocate elsewhere are welcome to move to Australia.

“We’ll be specifically targeting students and the really seriously talented individuals in Hong Kong who will be, if you like, able to contribute to the economy back here.”

Australia’s economy is in recession along with the global economy. Thus, it is looking to attract skilled workers, according to the minister. He further stated that the government is absolutely focusing on re-growing the economy. They are also focused on helping many people who lost their jobs during the pandemic to get back to work.

“In part, that’s what our reach out to the super talent in Hong Kong and elsewhere is about.”

In addition to attracting talent, Australia will also welcome businesses looking to relocate or move their headquarters from Hong Kong. This includes media companies, financial services, and consulting services firms.

By offering Visas, the minister said that this is one way of attracting businesses, as it would allow “critical staff” to move and work in Australia while pursuing a path to permanent residency and citizenship.

However, corporate taxes in Australian can go as high as 30% compared to Hong Kong’s at 16.5%. To make sure Australia is an attractive destination for companies, the minister added that the country is ready to offer “boutique financial arrangements” for different businesses.


Further Action by Australia

Australia is one of the ally nations that came forward to condemn Beijing’s move after the law was tabled in the Chinese parliament in May. The UK, US Canada, and Australia stated that Hong Kong thrives as a “bastion of freedom”. However, China is trying to infringe on this.

“China’s decision to impose the new law national security law on Hong Kong lies in direct conflict with its internal obligations under the principles of the legally-binding, UN registered Sino-British Joint Declaration.” They stated.

Following China’s decision to implement the law, Australia reacted by suspending its extradition treaty with Hong Kong. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison stated the law “undermines Hong Kong’s own basic law”. He added that it also undermines its level of independence from Beijing.


Foreigners in Hong Kong

Going even further, Australia, which has more than 100,000 citizens in Hong Kong, advised them to return to Australia over the risk of breaking the law unknowingly.

“You may be at increased risk of detention on vaguely defined national security grounds. You could break the law without intending to. If you’re concerned about the new law, reconsider your needs to remain in Hong Kong” said the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Last week, the Australian government also advised its citizens to reconsider travelling to Hong Kong over many concerns, including the new national security law.

“The new national security law for Hong Kong could be interpreted broadly. You could break the law without intending to. You may be at increased risk of detention on vaguely defined national security grounds. The maximum penalty under this law in Hong Kong is life imprisonment.”

The law has sparked anxiety among Hong Kongers, who have protested against such a move from mainland China, which has negatively affected economic news from Hong Kong since late 2019.

The residents are afraid that the law would infringe on their liberties. It could also violate Hong Kong residents’ rights as members of a Special Administrative Region. However, Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam stated that the law only seeks to safeguard national security in Hong Kong.

“The national security law seeks to practically and effectively prevent, curb and punish four types of crimes endangering national security namely acts of secession, subversion, of state power, terrorist activities and collusion with foreign or external forces to endanger national security.”

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