The migration of Hong Kong people to the UK: The role of social networks in the migration decision and planning

  With Professor Man-Yee Kan, Oxford University

Seminar 5 of Trinity Term's Sociology Seminar Series

Please join either in person or online. For in-person attendees, the talk will be preceded by a light lunch at 12.15pm.

Please email with any questions or to receive the Microsoft Teams link.

Following the mass social protests in 2019 and the enactment of a national security law in 2020 in Hong Kong, a significant proportion of Hong Kong people have been considering migrating to another country, and the UK is the most popular country of emigration (Kan, Richards, and Walsh 2021).

In this talk, I will introduce findings from a survey conducted between February 2021and June 2022 in Hong Kong, which collected data of migration intention and planning of Hong Kong residents. Specifically, this paper investigates whether individuals’ social networks in Hong Kong and overseas are associated with their migration decisions and planning, and how these associations might vary based on socio-economic factors such as occupation, educational qualifications, and home ownership status.

Results show that individuals with higher levels of socio-economic resources are more likely to consider migration and tend to view social networks as an important factor in their migration decisions. Additionally, having friends and family in the destination country increases the migration intention of individuals with lower levels of socio-economic resources.


Man-Yee Kan is Professor of Sociology at Oxford's Department of Sociology. She has conducted extensive research on time use, gender inequalities, marriages, families, and welfare policies in East Asian, European, and Anglophone countries. 

Her current project GenTime, funded by a European Research Council Consolidator Grant (2018-2026), aims to investigate trends in gender inequality in time use in East Asian and Western societies.  

Man-Yee's more recent research topic is about the migration of Hong Kong people to the UK. She has conducted surveys to collect timely data of potential migrants from Hong Kong and has estimated the size, migration planning, and socio-demographic profiles of Hong Kong migrants. She has also researched on the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on migration decisions.