DRAFT - NOT FOR QUOTATION - 17 March 2009
Sources: aUNDP (2007); bPopulation Reference Bureau (2008)
Sources: aUNDP (2007); bPopulation Reference Bureau (2008); cADB (2007)
Hong Kong has experienced strong economic growth in recent years and a strengthening labor market. Real GDP rose by 8.6 percent in 2004, 7.5 percent in 2005 and 6.9 percent in 2006. The seasonally adjusted unemployment had continuously fallen from a peak of almost 9 percent in 2003 to 4.3 percent in April 2007. According to the UNCTAD World Investment Report (2007), Hong Kong was Asia’s second largest recipient of FDI in 2006, with FDI inflows amounting to US$43 billion.
In the last decade, the following are among the landmark events that have had a bearing on Hong Kong’s migration experience:
According to Hong Kong’s Immigration Department, more than 518,000 mainland Chinese – most of them dependents of Hong Kong citizens – have migrated to the territory since the handover on 1 July 1997 (Lau, 2007). In the face of declining fertility rates, the influx of immigrants has contributed to Hong Kong’s population. Every year, some 55,000 mainlanders join their families in Hong Kong under the One-way Permit Scheme (i.e., some 150 mainlanders each day) (AMN, 30 June 2006).
Apart from immigrant mainlanders, professionals and low- and semi-skilled workers comprise Hong Kong’s foreign resident population. The latter group, especially foreign domestic workers, constitutes the majority. Some 218,000 foreign domestic workers are based in Hong Kong, largely from the Philippines and Indonesia (Table 1). Overall, these two countries are the top sources of Hong Kong’s foreign resident population. As of 2007, there were 121,420 Filipino domestic workers in the city-state while their Indonesian counterparts totaled 105,490 (AMN, 15 April 2007). Between 2003 and 2005, foreign domestic workers staged several protests against pay cuts. The government cut their monthly minimum wage by HK$400 (from HK$3,670 to HK$3,270) in April 2003; it also imposed a monthly levy (equal to the salary cut - HK$400) on employers in October 2003 to raise funds for training local workers. The pay cut prompted the Philippines and Indonesia to temporarily suspend the deployment of domestic workers. Modest salary increases were introduced in May 2005 (HK$50) and May 2006 (HK$80), but these increases still fall short of the pre-2003 wage levels (AMN, 31 May 2005; AMN, 31 May 2006).
Emigration was significant prior to the handover; it peaked in 1992 when some 66,200 persons left Hong Kong (AMN, 15 February 2002). The US, Canada and Australia are the top destinations of Hong Kong emigrants (Chui, 2006). Recently, in the early 2000s, it was noted that an increasing number of mid-level professionals were moving to China. According to the Census and Statistics Department, 176,300 Hong Kong residents were working in the mainland in 2001, up from 133,500 in 1998 (AMN, 30 February 2002).
Asian Development Bank (ADB)
2007 “East Asia: Hong Kong, China.” In Asian Development Outlook 2007. Available at http://www.adb.org/Documents/Books/ADO/2007/HKG.asp, accessed on 21 November 2008.
Asian Migration News (AMN) Various Years
Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants
2005 “Country Updates: Hong Kong Profile, As of February 2005.” Available at http://www.apmigrants.org/country_updates/Hongkong.htm, accessed on 10 November 2007.
Chui, Stephen W.K.
2006 “Country Report Hong Kong (Recent Trends in Migration Movements and Policies in Asia: Hong Kong Region Report).” A Paper prepared for the “Workshop on International Migration and Labour Markets in Asia,” the Japan Institute for Labour Policy and Training. Tokyo, Japan, 17 February. Available at http://www.jil.go.jp/foreign/event_r/event/documents/2006sopemi/countryreport3.pdf, accessed on 21 November 2008.
2007 “Migrants Shaping Hong Kong’s New Face,” CNN, 30 June 2007. Available at http://edition.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapcf/06/09/hk.migrants/index.html, accessed on 1 January 2008.
Population Reference Bureau
2008 “2008 World Population Data Sheet.” Available at http://www.prb.org/pdf08/08WPDS_Eng.pdf, accessed on 21 November 2008.
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
2007 “Human Development Report 2007/2008.” Available at http://hdrstats.undp.org/countries/data_sheets/cty_ds_HKG.html, accessed on 21 November 2008.