29th November 2023 – (Hong Kong) According to government data, residents leaving Hong Kong permanently withdrew a total of HK$2.213 billion ($283.72 million) from their Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) pension accounts in the third quarter of 2023, representing a 1.7% increase compared to the same period last year.
The data, released by the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority (MPFA) on Wednesday, revealed that a total of 8,700 claims were made during the July-September quarter, slightly higher than the 8,600 claims made in the corresponding period of 2022, amounting to HK$2.177 billion. This follows a previous quarter where 7,300 claims were made during April-June, resulting in withdrawals of HK$1.787 billion, and 6,700 claims made in January-March, with withdrawals totalling HK$1.573 billion.
The implementation of COVID-19 control measures played a role in the exodus of individuals from Hong Kong. While the city had closely followed China’s strict zero-COVID-19 policy, it began easing restrictions in August of the previous year.
The MPF serves as a mandatory retirement scheme for Hong Kong residents, with both employees and employers obligated to make contributions. The reopening of border checkpoints in February and the lifting of all pandemic restrictions from March 1 have been part of the government’s efforts to restore business confidence and attract investors, following over three years of stringent COVID-19 measures.
After experiencing a downward trend in 2020 due to the impact of strict COVID-19 measures, Hong Kong’s population saw a significant increase of 152,000 individuals, or 2.1%, reaching 7,498,100 in June of the current year.
The Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority clarified that multiple claims for pension withdrawals may be made by a single person, as scheme members are allowed to have more than one account. In the third quarter of 2023, the total number of claims, encompassing various reasons for withdrawal, including retirement, reached 68,500. This figure reflects an 18.9% increase compared to the previous quarter’s 57,600 claims.