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Top 10 pull factors that encourage foreign talent to migrate to Hong Kong

Demographic analyzes of migration first came into play in 1885 in the Journal of the Statistical Societywhen the geographer Ernest George Ravenstein essayed what he called the “Laws of Migration” seeking to establish an explanation and attempting to predict migration patterns in England.

In his seminal paper, Ravenstein compared 1871 and 1881 UK census data and charted patterns of migratory movements, and from his observations devised a series of “Migration Acts”. Among those laws, Ravenstein considered there was a process of “absorption” in which people immediately surrounding a rapidly growing place moved into it, and the gaps left behind were filled by others from more distant areas. This process continued until the underlying pull behind the movement of populations was no longer compelling enough to sustain momentum and the “migration” was complete. Furthermore, Ravenstein also claimed that there was a law of “dispersion”, being the opposite of “absorption”.

Ravenstein suggests that the “Migration Laws” were based on a series of “pull” factors and “push” factors. Pull factors attracted immigration and applied to both the highly-skilled and the low-skilled, while push factors pushed immigrants to leave their country of origin.

Examples of “push” factors cited included high unemployment rates, low incomes, political instability, poor security, and natural disasters. Family connections, increased income opportunities, better health care, further career development, higher living standards and overall quality of life were cited as examples of “pull” factors. Naturally, “pull” factors may be enhanced as a result of the receiving nation’s stance in encouraging the inflow of migrants, so that its desire to use foreign nationals in its economies is driven by labor needs, availability of land resources, general economic opportunities, and political liberalism.

Unsurprisingly, Hong Kong has a number of “push” factors that draw highly-skilled immigrants from more than 120 economies into our economy, and people who have gone through the HKSAR migration process generally agree that these include:

1. Geographical location, especially its proximity to mainland China.

2. Excellent employment opportunities.

3. Relatively high salaries.

4. Low tax rates.

5. Easy and efficient immigration procedures.

6. Excellent telecommunications.

7. A largely bilingual/trilingual workforce.

8. Low risk of terrorism.

9. The rule of law.

10. Low level of overt racism.

In recent years, Hong Kong has introduced specific immigration programs to encourage these “pull” factors, including the Mainland Talent Admission Scheme, the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme, the Immigration Arrangements for Non-Local Graduates, and the Capital Investment Entry Scheme. The rest of foreigners are managed under the General Employment Policy and the Policy on dependency family relations.

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