Previous research has documented the ways that migration contributed to the rise of Hong Kong as a global city by the early 1990s. Much academic attention has been paid to the causes of labor migration and issues related to the adaptation of migrant workers in Hong Kong. Based on a review of such studies, the purpose of this paper is to describe three representative groups of migrant workers in Hong Kong and discuss how research on migrant workers in Hong Kong has provided new insights to the global city literature and to the study of development and migration.Design/methodology/approachThis paper reviews published works regarding migrant workers in Hong Kong since 1996. Discussion focuses on three representative groups: high-skilled immigrants from developed countries, low-skilled migrant workers from less developed regions and mainland Chinese immigrants.FindingsFindings suggest that the migration patterns and challenges of the adaptation of migrant workers in Hong Kong correspond largely to the social polarization thesis proposed by global city literature. However, Hong Kong is unique compared to core global cities in the USA and Western Europe due to its special power relationship with mainland China and its colonial history, which have a significant impact on immigrants’ decision to migrate and their post-migration integration.Originality/valueThis review paper provides a better understanding of migration and development, and highlights new factors that contribute to reasons for migration and challenges of integration for migrant workers in the host society.
Asian Education and Development Studies – Emerald Publishing
Published: Dec 23, 2020
Keywords: Hong Kong; Migrant workers; Low-skilled workers; Global city; High-skilled workers; Mainland Chinese immigrants