Dozens of international schools in Hong Kong are reportedly not complying with a government requirement that at least 70% of their students be non-natives.

The rule, which is designed to ensure enough seats in schools for children of ex-patriate families in the territory, is being flouted by 24 of 52 international schools, according to the South China Morning Post, which analysed official statistics.

The proportion, which was raised from 50% in 2009, is not being met by 24 institutions, at which more than 30% of students enrolled are locals, compared with 18% and 21% in the two years prior.

Local families value the English-language tuition offered by international schools, as it is thought to better prepare them for studies and work overseas later in life, while making them more competitive on the global career stage. 

At four schools, more than than 60% of students were locals: Kingston International School, Think International School, Yew Chung International School and Kiangsu & Chekiang Primary School.

Kingston’s records reportedly show that 76% of its 274 students were locals.

Records filed by three other international schools showed that between 50% and 60% of their students were domestic citizens.

More than 40,000 of Hong Kong’s 900,000 nursery, primary and secondary school children are enrolled at international schools. Officials have said that around 1,720 more international school places would be needed between now and 2023.