Vacancies in Beijing and Hong Kong now the norm due to virus spread

Published:  4 Mar at 6 PM
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Hong Kong and Beijing are running short of expat bankers as the coronavirus threat grows.

As attempts to regulate the spread of the virus become even more restrictive, thousands of international bankers are fleeing Hong Kong and mainland China for offices outside the immediate danger zone. International schools are closing for the time being and the luxurious lives of the mega-wealthy expatriate professionals are being seriously disrupted as their trusted domestic staff are unable to follow them to safer locations.

For those determined to stay in China and wait out the contamination, an almost total travel lockdown is bringing business to a standstill. A few expats in Hong Kong are operating from home offices but have no idea when they’ll be able to get back to Beijing. Those returning from the mainland are being quarantined in their homes for at least two weeks, with business trips across the country now a practical impossibility. Even those still living in Hong Kong and attempting to visit the tech hub of Shenzhen just across the now closed border are out of luck.

Expat financiers stuck on Hong Kong’s outlying islands are reporting they’re going crazy as all they can do is simply watch the situation worsening day by day. The only companies seemingly still effective in business are removals specialists, as expats who’ve had more than enough of the situation are either leaving for good or putting their possessions into storage and waiting out the crisis in locations outside Asia. The recruitment sector is suffering, with potential expats pushing back their start dates or simply withdrawing their applications. To put it mildly, jobs in one of the world’s most popular business locations are now a tough sell.
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