Understanding Local Labor Regime: ICT Skilled Migration from Mainland China to Hong Kong

Authors: He Wang*, City University of Hong Kong
Topics: Economic Geography, Migration
Keywords: Skilled migrations, Hong Kong ICT Sector, reproduction of labor, labor regime
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Hampton Room, Omni, East
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Due to the shortage of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry talents in HK, from 1998 the Hong Kong government initiated the Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals (ASMTP), aiming at attracting ICT talents from mainland China to temporarily fill in the local shortage. However, Hong Kong employers and recruiters in ICT sector often pointed out the policy as a failure, as the shortage was aggravated rather than alleviated. Looking at both the production and reproduction of labor, this paper examines Hong Kong’s labor regime of its ICT sector at the intersection of its local social relations, industrial structures and Hong Kong’s historical legacy. This article draws on primary data collected through 56 semi-structured interviews with migrated professionals in ICT, employers and an NGO for mainland skilled immigrants, as well as secondary datasets and policy documents. This study finds that for skilled migrants, the decisive pull-push factor can be interchangeable between social-economic and cultural-institutional considerations. However, the disconnection between the migration and industrial policy, which failed to retain the talents shipped in the Hong Kong ICT sector. Profession migration as a common practice to solve talents shortage, should be a short-term solution to the shortage in local labor pool followed by retaining talents or cultivating local supply, has become a long-term reliance for Hong Kong's ICT sector. The industrial policy, uncompetitive salary and cultural bias have impeded retaining and cultivating talents.

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