UNESCO Social and Human Sciences
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Asia Pacific Migration Research Network (APMRN)

Migration Issues in the Asia Pacific


    A. Introduction and Background

Situated at the mouth of the Pearl River delta in southern China, Hong Kong had long been a city of migrants with massive outflow and inflow of people. ‘The emigration of Chinese from Hong Kong began as soon as the island became a British colony [in 1842]. By 1939, over six million Chinese had left to go to every part of the world’ (Sinn 1995, p. 12). Before the Second World War, Hong Kong served as the major port for the Chinese living in Guangdong and other provinces to venture abroad. Consequently, it became the key economic centre for the overseas Chinese, handling an intense traffic in people, remittances, and information.

Following the Chinese Communist victory in 1949, over one million refugees left the mainland and sought shelter in the territory. Some brought machinery and know-how from Shanghai and other Chinese coastal cities, and formed a local entrepreneurial class that mainly produced. This marked the beginning of industrialisation in the region (Wong 1988). Others served as low-cost labour. With the influx of these immigrants of diverse social backgrounds who were eager to begin their new lives, and the confrontation between Communist China and Western capitalist countries during the Cold War, Hong Kong transformed itself from an entrepot into a manufacturing centre. It emerged as a prosperous node in the new Asia-Pacific region, and played a key part in the development of flexible and transnational forms of subcontracting and commodity production. With the Chinese mainland isolated from the capitalist world, Hong Kong retained its importance among the overseas Chinese by acting as the sanctuary for their flight capital and the source for their cultural sustenance through the production of Chinese newspapers, movies and other forms of popular culture.

As sojourners in their own city, Hong Kong people move readily to places where they can find work. The first wave of emigrants were mainly poor. The Western economies drew on unskilled immigrant workers, and Britain had not yet set up barriers to Commonwealth members. Poorly educated, New Territories village men left in large numbers to open and work in restaurants in Great Britain (Watson 1975). Gradually, the skills of those who went abroad changed. As Hong Kong society developed a strong middle class tied intellectually to Western nations, many sent their children abroad to study. The students often remained, and these links prompted more people to go back and forth. In the 1980s, Western immigration policies favoured young, well educated, English-speaking professionals, technicians and managers with financial means (Skeldon 1990–91; Kwong 1990).

More recently, as Hong Kong reverts to China in 1997, many have applied to emigrate abroad. Now, political concerns spur many to flee. Corruption is a major problem. The working class worries that 1997 might usher in chaos and the middle class fears the loss of property and freedom (Wong 1992; Salaff & Wong 1994). Responding to this future political change, some countries have opened their immigration doors wider to Hong Kong people. Since 1989, about 60,000 Hong Kong Chinese emigrated annually, with Canada, the United States, and Australia as the main destinations. But while political concerns are widespread, connections not attitudes determine who plan to exit and where they go. Emigrants activate their networks to leave Hong Kong.

Yet at the same time, economic opportunities are opening up in southern China as a result of reform and an open door policy. Hong Kong entrepreneurs are relocating their operations and extending their investments into Guangdong and other provinces on a large scale, creating an unprecedented degree of economic interdependence between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland (see Sung 1991). This acts as a countervailing force that attracts many Hong Kong residents to stay in the territory.

In terms of ethnic composition, Hong Kong is essentially a Chinese community. According to the 1991 population census, nearly 96.6 per cent of the residents are using Cantonese or other Chinese dialects as their usual language. About 2.2 per cent are normally English speaking, with the remainder using Filipino and Japanese etc. As for place of birth, some 59.8 per cent of the inhabitants were born in Hong Kong, with another 34.4 per cent born in China. By nationality, other than the majority of Chinese and British passport holders, the largest groups of foreign nationals are the Filipinos (64,658 or 1.8 per cent), Portuguese (18,488 or 0.3 per cent), Americans (18,383 or 0.3 per cent), Canadians (15,135 or 0.27 per cent), Indians and Pakistanis (14,329 or 0.26 per cent), Thai (11,787 or 0.21 per cent), Japanese (10,850 or 0.2 per cent), and others (Census and Statistics Department 1992, pp. 54–5; 58–9; 68–9).

    B. Migratory Movements

During the 1990s, Hong Kong has experienced massive inflow and outflow of people. The large emigration wave has attracted widespread attention. But it is not often realised that there exists a trend of increased immigration from diverse sources. This has led to a steady rate of population growth at about 2 per cent per annum in the past couple of years which cannot be accounted for by natural reproduction because Hong Kong has undergone a rapid fertility decline and its birth rate is one of the lowest in the world. These emigration and immigration waves will be described briefly in turn.

(1) Emigration
Emigration from Hong Kong is mainly spurred by push factors which are political in nature. The chief force propelling is the anxiety generated by the impending reversion of the territory to China in 1997. Although the Chinese and British governments signed an agreement in 1984 over the future of Hong Kong, many Hong Kong residents remain apprehensive. Some are distrustful of the Chinese government because of its past record of violently fluctuating internal policies. Others are doubtful whether capitalist Hong Kong can coexist peacefully with socialist China under the untried framework of ‘one country, two systems’.

Such apprehension has led to a steep increase in emigration in the last decade. About 22,400 persons left the territory for residence overseas in 1980, an annual migration which remained quite stable for several years. Then in 1987, it rose to 30,000.

By 1990, in the aftermath of the Tiananmen incident in China which dealt a shattering blow to popular confidence in Hong Kong, the outflow reached a peak of 62,000 or about 1 per cent of the population. It has fluctuated at that level since then, with 66,000 in 1992, 53,000 in 1993, and 62,000 in 1994.

However, the actual outflow only constitutes the ‘tip of the iceberg’. As revealed in social surveys, there exists a large pool of potential migrants who want to leave. Many Hong Kong residents are adopting a wait-and-see attitude towards the transition in 1997, making the tide of emigration potentially strong and volatile. The characteristics of the actual and potential emigrants are now reasonably well known. They are predominantly yuppies—young, educated, middle class professionals who possess skills and are proficient in English. Their popular destinations are Canada, the United States, and Australia.

(2) Immigration
Though the outflow of population is substantial, it is counterbalanced by a strong inflow of immigrants from the following sources (for details, see Skeldon 1995a):

i) Legal immigrants from China
Since 1980, immigration from the Chinese mainland to Hong Kong was subject to tight control. A strict quota was set on the number of Chinese permitted to settle in the territory. The number was originally limited to 75 per day. It was gradually increased to 105 in 1994, and then 150 in 1995. Therefore at present, there is an annual inflow of about 55,000 legal immigrants from China, most of whom are actually dependents of Hong Kong residents living in the mainland and coming to the territory for family reunion.

The pool of such dependants living in the mainland is quite large. The number was estimated to be around 400,000 in 1991. It may well increase with more cross border marriages being formed. After 1997, as stipulated in the Basic Law, these dependents will have a legal right to live in Hong Kong as a Special Administrative Region of China. The recent increase in the daily quota is a policy decision taken in anticipation of that situation, with the aim of smoothing the flow and preventing a sudden influx after the change in sovereignty.

ii) Foreign professionals
These are foreigners who come to Hong Kong with employment visas to work as professionals and managers in the private sector, or to take up senior positions in the civil service and other public organisations. They are not subject to quota restrictions. According to the latest figures available, they amounted to more than 30,000 in 1993. Many of them are still drawn from Western developed societies such as Britain, the United States, and European countries. But there are increasing numbers coming from Australia and various parts of Asia such as Japan, Singapore and Malaysia. Thus the expatriate community in Hong Kong is growing in size as well as complexity.

A recent development is the addition of professionals recruited from China under a trial scheme introduced by the Hong Kong government in 1994. Companies are allowed to bring in up to a maximum of 1,000 professionals from China per year, provided that these new recruits are graduates from one of the 36 designated Chinese universities. But so far, up to January 1996, only 349 persons have been brought in under this scheme, mainly as engineers and administrators (Hong Kong Economic Journal, 23 January 1996).

iii) Foreign domestic workers
The other group of foreigners entering Hong Kong with work permits are the domestic workers. Their numbers are not restricted, and they have been increasing steadily. They grew from less than 9,000 per year before 1987 to 28,000 in 1992 and 32,000 in 1993. The great majority of them were women from the Philippines, with an expanding minority from Thailand, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. As a consequence, the Filipinos have become the largest foreign community in Hong Kong, amounting to 130,000 by the end of March 1995.

iv) Imported labour
With a sharply declining fertility rate, strict control on illegal immigration, and a booming economy, Hong Kong faced an acute shortage of labour in the second half of the 1980s. Since then, the government began to introduce various labour importation schemes to allow employers to apply for permits to bring in technicians, craftsmen, and experienced operators.

In 1994, a total of 11,000 places were made available. The majority of the places, about 63 per cent, were allocated to retail, catering, import/export trades and other non-manufacturing activities. Another specific scheme was designed for the new airport project. It is expected that about 27,000 workers will be brought in during 1996 when the project is in full swing. The great majority of this imported labour comes from China.

As the unemployment rate rises (recently to about 3 per cent), some political groups are demanding that the quantum of imported labour be reduced. There are also protests by several groups of imported workers against alleged exploitation by their employers.

v) Illegal immigrants
A total of 35,500 illegal immigrants from China were arrested and deported in 1994. The number had decreased as compared with a total of about 44,000 in 1993. When captured upon entry, they are immediately deported. If they are caught later when engaged in illegal employment, they are liable to 15 months in prison and fines of up to HK$5,000. Because of the stringent control, the size of the illegal immigrant population in Hong Kong is believed to be relatively small, probably not more than 20,000 at any one point in time.

The Vietnamese migrants make up another group of illegal immigrants. They are all held in detention centres and are screened for eligibility as refugees. Those screened as refugees will await resettlement in other countries. But the large majority who are not regarded as refugees will be repatriated to Vietnam. Since an agreement was made in 1991 with the Vietnamese government concerning repatriation, the number of illegal migrants from Vietnam has dropped. In 1994, there were only 363 arrivals. However, as the rate of repatriation is very slow, there are still a large number of Vietnamese migrants held in detention camps, totalling about 25,000 at the end of 1994.

vi) Returnees
The last group of immigrants consists of those who have emigrated and then returned to Hong Kong after acquiring foreign passports or rights of residence. Since the Hong Kong government does not gather precise migration statistics, the actual number of returnees is not known. The official estimate is that about 12 per cent of those who have emigrated during the past decade have returned.

    C. Migration Policies

In the area of emigration, the Hong Kong government follows a laissez-faire policy of non-intervention. Hong Kong residents are free to move in and out of the territory, and they do not have to declare the purpose of their movements to the authorities. This freedom of movement, much valued by the local population, has been enshrined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration about the future of Hong Kong beyond 1997. In the Basic Law, the mini-constitution for Hong Kong after its reversion to China, it is stipulated that:

    Hong Kong residents shall have freedom of movement within the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and freedom of emigration to other countries and regions. They shall have freedom to travel and to enter or leave the Region. Unless restrained by law, holders of valid travel documents shall be free to leave the Region without special authorization.

In the area of immigration, a distinction is made between those coming from the Chinese mainland and those coming from other countries. Traditionally, Chinese migrants were allowed free ingress to Hong Kong and they were not subject to immigration controls except in times of emergency. Such a practice was followed partly for diplomatic reasons due to the legal status of the New Territories as an area on lease from China, and partly for practical reasons due to the difficulty of maintaining an impermeable boundary between Hong Kong and the Chinese hinterland.

But after the Chinese communist victory in 1949, the policy changed. At that time, a huge flood of refugees poured into Hong Kong. About 1.3 million Chinese entered the territory between 1945 and 1949, doubling the size of the Hong Kong population within a few years. In reaction to the influx, the Hong Kong government closed the border and imposed immigration control on the Chinese in the early 1950s. But this did not stop the inflow of Chinese immigrants. For three decades after 1949, the Hong Kong government enacted the so-called ‘reach base’ policy, that is, if the Chinese illegal immigrants were not caught at the border and managed to reach town, they were permitted to stay.

Then in the late 1970s, when China started its economic reform and open door policies, the influx of Chinese illegal immigrants into Hong Kong reached a crescendo. In 1979, some 89,940 illegal immigrants were arrested upon entry, and a further 102,826 were estimated to have evaded capture. In response to the worsening situation, the Hong Kong government abandoned the ‘reach base’ policy in 1980 and implemented a strict policy of immediate repatriation of all illegal immigrants no matter where they were caught. Subsequently, illegal immigrants caught in employment were further subject to imprisonment before repatriation.

Apparently, the change in policy towards illegal immigrants from China was enacted only after consultation with the Chinese government. The Hong Kong and Chinese governments further agreed to set a daily quota for legal immigration from the Chinese mainland as described in the previous section. However, the allocation of the immigration quota was entirely in the hands of the Chinese government. There was a four-tier system for screening the applications inside China, from county authorities, municipal authorities, immigration and emigration bureau, to the public security bureau. Recently, the deputy public security minister of China announced that a points system would be introduced in the near future to make the allocation more transparent and to avoid possible abuse (South China Morning Post, 6 February 1996).

After China resumes sovereignty over Hong Kong in 1997, the existing control over population movement across the border will still apply. Hong Kong residents will be free to move in and out of the mainland, but mainland residents will be restricted in their entry into Hong Kong. It is stipulated in the Basic Law that:

    [f]or entry into the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, people from other parts of China must apply for approval. Among them, the number of persons who enter the Region for the purpose of settlement shall be determined by the competent authorities of the Central People’s Government after consulting the government of the Region.

As for non-Chinese immigrants, British nationals enjoy special privileges and have free access to the territory. But this colonial prerogative will be abolished after 1997. People from other countries are required to apply for work permits before they can come to live in Hong Kong. There are no quota restrictions imposed on those who come as managers, professionals and other skilled personnel. For unskilled workers, they are brought in under different imported labour schemes as outlined in the last section.

    D. Effects of Migration

Because of its rapid growth and sheer magnitude, the effects of emigration from Hong Kong have attracted much attention in recent years. On the economic front, there is the longstanding concern for ‘brain drain’ and the possible depletion of the ‘functional core’ of the economy. Yet the rate of depletion, though relatively high in some occupations, does not amount to a haemorrhage because it is regulated by relatively stable immigration quotas and targets set by host countries. The only element of unpredictability is the British Nationality Scheme enacted in 1990 which creates the possibility for some 50,000 households in Hong Kong to leave en masse at their own discretion.

Numerically, the outflow has been counterbalanced by a slightly bigger inflow of people in the past few years, leading to a slight net gain of population. In qualitative terms, the present outflow may have resulted in a loss of experience at senior and middle levels of the economy, affecting the capacity for decision-making and crisis management. However, this negative impact could well be neutralised by the benefits to be gained through an accelerated rate of occupational mobility and a more vigorous circulation of elites. Externally, many of the Hong Kong emigrants are turning themselves into entrepreneurs and small businessmen after their relocation, and they are creating transnational business networks which bind their host countries with Hong Kong and China. Thus in effect, the present wave of emigration is enhancing the global reach of the Hong Kong economy.

On the social front, there is popular apprehension that Hong Kong may degenerate into a state of anomie as 1997 approaches, with the citizens infected by a doomsday syndrome that sets in motion a self-fulfilling prophecy of social collapse. But on the whole, there are no strong indications that anomie is becoming rampant as a consequence of large-scale emigration. Although the process of emigration itself does create pressures and opportunities for deviance, it also activates and strengthens social control in two ways to contain anomie. First, emigration acts as a safety valve to relieve frustration, and second, it tends to reinforce social networks and check massive deviance.

At the level of the family, the present wave of emigration has created the phenomenon of the so-called ‘astronauts’ and ‘parachute children’, referring to the men who return to Hong Kong to make a living and the children who stay in the destination countries with their mothers. The full extent of this phenomenon is not yet known, but there are indications that it is quite significant. Disruption to family life caused by migration is, of course, nothing new. But the general pattern in the past has been for the men to venture overseas, leaving their wives and children in the midst of relatives and friends in Hong Kong. It is unprecedented for female-centred households to be relocated abroad to fend for themselves.

On the political front, there are concerns about the erosion of authority and a possible crisis of legitimacy. Some scholars assert that the emigration of the young and educated elites may be interpreted as a vote of no confidence in the present and future governments of Hong Kong. Other scholars argue that since Hong Kong is a colony, the basis of legitimacy of the government is essentially pragmatic in nature. It plays the role of a referee and gains popular support through its efficiency and impartiality. It does not have the moral authority to lead and mobilise the population. Therefore, increased emigration would not undermine its legitimacy. Rather, emigration may fortify the refugee mentality and entrepreneurial familialism within the community and reinforce its dynamism.

But in terms of Hong Kong’s external relations with other countries, the issue of returnees may create political problems in the future. Many Hong Kong migrants are reluctant exiles who show a strong desire to return after obtaining a foreign passport. Substantial numbers of them are coming back to Hong Kong as returnees, and they are vocal in their claim to be regarded as permanent residents when Hong Kong becomes a Special Administrative Region of China. The question of how to define and handle multiple identities, particularly for the returnees but also for other sectors of the local population, has aroused considerable controversy. It also entails ‘knotty’ problems of allegiance, right to consular protection, the meaning of passports as symbols of nationality or as practical documents to facilitate travel etc. which may cloud the relationship between Hong Kong and China on the one hand and the destination countries on the other.

As for the social and political effects of immigration, they have not been as systematically studied as those of emigration, but they are clearly of fundamental importance. Economically, it is widely acknowledged that the post-war development of Hong Kong owes a lot to the influx of immigrants from China and elsewhere. The robust entrepreneurship found in the territory is closely linked to the process of migration. Socially, Hong Kong has long been a community of immigrants and this has shaped many aspects of its social organisation. The pervasive experience of migration may have engendered a refugee mentality in the society, thus fostering a special ethos. Politically, the huge influx of refugees into the territory in the post-war period has greatly tested the capabilities of the Hong Kong government and transformed its methods of administration, particularly in fields such as housing, medical care, and education. Since the early 1980s, the government began to take a hard line towards illegal immigration, a change that coincided with the emergence of a local-born middle class and a much stronger sense of Hong Kong identity. From then onwards, the politics of immigration have become more complex and strident, as shown in issues of the Vietnamese boat people and labour importation.

    E. Key Problem Areas

Most of the key problem areas have been touched on in the previous section. Let me highlight some of them briefly as follows:

(1) Families
Emigration represents a form of family strategy for social mobility which evolves over time. Because of that, it is necessary to carry out in-depth and longitudinal studies of selected emigrant and non-emigrant families so as to understand the impact of diverse patterns of family dynamics, the relevance of socioeconomic positions, and other factors on how they plan for the future and make sense of their lives.

(2) Networks
International migration is a study of structures and network connections. It is important to find out how people in Hong Kong make use of their social networks to explore opportunities for emigration and to facilitate their adjustments abroad. Since many of the emigrants are professionals and potential entrepreneurs, they may contribute to the formation of global business networks for the territory, thus strengthening Hong Kong’s position as an international metropolis.

(3) Returnees
It is essential to ascertain the scale of return migration, the characteristics of the returnees, and the implications for the recipient countries and for Hong Kong. The ‘astronaut’ families constitute a special social problem which calls for systematic analysis.

(4) Identities
The creation of plural identities through migration and the associated consequences need to be studied systematically. There is the wider phenomenon of the heightened movement of people of diverse socioeconomic background across national boundaries in Asia which tend to challenge the conventional geopolitical framework of the nation state.

(5) Entrepreneurship
What are the precise mechanisms which tend to foster or retard entrepreneurship in the process of migration. Is Hong Kong facing a dwindling supply of entrepreneurs due to its stringent policy of stopping illegal immigration? Is there a fundamental difference between the legal and illegal immigrants in terms of their social background and entrepreneurial potential?

(6) Cosmopolitanism
How are new immigrants from other countries, whether they are domestic helpers, imported workers, or mobile professionals, adjusting in Hong Kong. Will the attraction of Hong Kong for foreign migrants decline, and will the cosmopolitan character of the territory be diminished in the future after its reversion to China.

    F. Existing Research Capabilities

Projects on migration are mainly funded by two sources. The first is through internal funding by different universities which provide support of not more than HK$150,000 for small projects lasting not more than one year at a time. The other is through competitive grants awarded by the newly created Hong Kong Research Grants Council. Grants exceeding one million Hong Kong dollars may be awarded for durations up to three years. Collaborative projects are being encouraged by the Research Grants Council.

Other than these two main sources, grants are sometimes forthcoming from organisations such as the Japan Foundation, the Institute of Developing Economies in Japan, the British Council, and the IDRC of Canada etc. to support social science research. On the whole, the Hong Kong government seldom provides direct funding or awards research contracts to local researchers. There are also few grants made available locally by international organisations such as the United Nations for research relating to migration.

Most of the research materials pertaining to migration are collected and deposited in the universities. The Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong government generates data of quality on many aspects of social life in the community and is generally helpful to academic researchers. But unfortunately, it does not have systematic migration statistics available because Hong Kong residents are not required to reveal the purpose of their movements in and out of the territory to the government. When there was popular alarm over the extent of emigration in the early 1990s, the government set up an ad hoc working group to monitor the situation by pooling scattered information from various sources. But the working group was soon disbanded when emigration was no longer regarded as a pressing social problem. Fortunately, useful information on applications and the issuing of emigration visas are forthcoming from various consulates in Hong Kong which show a keen interest in the topic and are very helpful to researchers.

    G. State of Research

A number of surveys have been conducted since the late 1980s to assess popular attitudes towards emigration or to evaluate the extent of the brain drain in various sectors of the economy. These tended to rely on telephone interviews or mailed questionnaires to collect information. There are also some recent studies using either psychological or sociological approaches to explore the concerns and expectations of small groups of prospective emigrants to different countries. The key works are listed in the references. A review of existing statistics on the topic is contained in the chapter entitled ‘An Assessment of Available Data Sources for the Analysis of the Trends of Migration’ in Skeldon (1995b, p. 79–109).

A major study on emigration is being undertaken through a research project entitled ‘Emigration From Hong Kong’. The first phase of the project, with an emphasis on tendencies and impacts of emigration, was funded by the University and Polytechnic Grants Committee of Hong Kong from 1990 to 1993 with a grant of HK$805,000. The multidisciplinary research team was led by Fan Yiu-kwan of the Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) as principal investigator, with Lam Kit-chun (HKBU), Daniel Cheung of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), Elizabeth Sinn, Ronald Skeldon, and Wong Siu-lun of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) as co-investigators. The study included four main sub-projects:

(1) A questionnaire survey conducted in 1991 on 1,552 Hong Kong residents concerning their attitude towards emigration;
(2) In-depth interviews conducted in 1992–93 with 30 families chosen from the survey sample with different socioeconomic background, half representing potential emigrants and half non-emigrant families;
(3) Questionnaire survey conducted in 1993 on 1,000 prospective emigrants to Canada among whom 30 were further interviewed in depth; and
(4) A historical study on the pattern of emigration from Hong Kong during this century.

The second phase of the project, with an emphasis on family strategies, social networks, and returnees, is funded by the Hong Kong Research Grants Council from 1994 to 1997 with a grant of HK$804,000. The research team is led by Wong Siu-lun, with Ronald Skeldon, and Janet Salaff of the University of Toronto as co-investigators. The researchers are carrying out a longitudinal study of the 30 emigrant and non-emigrant families with annual interviews. They want to find out how emigrants make use of social networks for relocation. They are also going to ascertain the scale of return migration and the characteristics of the returnees. In the summer of 1995, they had completed the second round of interviews with the 30 families and are now preparing a book on these families. (Publications generated from this project are listed in the references.)

As for immigration, there is a project funded by the Universities and Polytechnic Grants Committee of Hong Kong from 1990 to 1992 entitled ‘A decade of massive immigration in Hong Kong: Economic consequences, assimilation and policies’. The investigators are Liu Pak-wai and Wong Yue Chim of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Lam Kit-chun of the Hong Kong Baptist University. There is another project on ‘Labour shortage and importing labour in Hong Kong’ undertaken by Wong Yue-chim, formerly of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and now with the University of Hong Kong. A survey on Thai domestic workers is also being undertaken by Ng Sek-hong of the University of Hong Kong as part of a regional study coordinated by Chulalongkorn University. The Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong Government also publishes occasional reports on domestic helpers and imported workers based on data collected through their quarterly General Household Survey (Census and Statistics Department 1993; 1994; 1995).

    H. Establishing a National Network

The national network for Hong Kong will be coordinated by the research team which is undertaking the long term project on ‘Emigration from Hong Kong’. Its administrative base will be located at the University of Hong Kong, with support to be provided by the Department of Sociology, the Social Sciences Research Centre, and the Centre of Asian Studies. The following is a preliminary list of proposed network members for Hong Kong:

    CHEUNG Wai-wah, DanielChinese University of Hong Kong
    FAN Yiu-kwanHong Kong Baptist University
    HO Lok-sangChinese University of Hong Kong
    LAM Kit-chunHong Kong Baptist University
    LIU Pak-waiChinese University of Hong Kong
    LUK Chi-mingCensus and Statistics Department
    NG Sek-hongUniversity of Hong Kong
    Janet SALAFFUniversity of Toronto
    Sinn Yuk-yee, ElizabethUniversity of Hong Kong
    Skeldon, RonaldUniversity of Hong Kong
    WONG Siu-lunUniversity of Hong Kong
    WONG Yue-chim, RichardUniversity of Hong Kong

I. Key Research Issues for Next Five Years

(A) For Hong Kong as a whole, the key issues are as follows:

    (1) Family dynamics in emigration decisions;
    (2) Role of social networks in facilitating migration;
    (3) Extent and characteristics of return migration;
    (4) Relationship between migration and entrepreneurship;
    (5) Labour shortage and the formulation of immigration policy.

(B) On the regional and international level, the key issues include:

    (1) Labour migration, especially that of domestic workers;
    (2) Skilled migration, and the emergence of a mobile middle class in the Asia-Pacific region;
    (3) The handling of the Vietnamese boat people problem;
    (4) Migration, identities, and multiculturalism.


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