Hong Kong migrants in the UK are nearly twice as qualified as average Briton but are less likely to find work, according to report

Wednesday 22 November 2023

Migrants from Hong Kong who have moved to the UK on a recent visa scheme are almost twice as well-educated as the average Briton, but only around half are employed, according to a report.

A study by think tank British Future found that Hongkongers are also working in jobs that are mismatched to their skills and qualifications

The think tank argued that more support is needed to ensure their abilities and experience positively affect the economy, as many of the surveyed Hong Kong migrants expressed their desire to stay in the UK.

British Future, which describes itself as independent, non-partisan and focused on people’s hopes and fears about integration, immigration, identity and race, said 2,089 British National Overseas (BN(O's) visa-holders responded to the survey.

The survey found that some 59% of respondents have a degree at graduate (36%) or postgraduate (23%) level, which is higher than the proportion in the UK population as a whole, which sits at just over a third (34%).

The employment rate among these visa-holders is just over 52%, lower than the current UK national rate of 76%, the report said.

Migrants from Hong Kong are twice as qualified as the average Brit (Photo by BERTHA WANG/AFP via Getty Images)

Those who are not in work said confidence in speaking English (59%) and recognition of qualifications (28%) are the main barriers to getting a job.

Heather Rolfe, co-author of the report, said: “Many Hongkongers arriving in the UK are highly educated, often skilled professionals – yet they are more likely to be unemployed or working in jobs below their skill level.

"The initial support they need – with English language, careers and employment advice – is often available but isn’t always being accessed."

While two-thirds of survey respondents said they need careers information and advice, more than three-quarters said they have not received such help.

The report stated that while there is advice and help available, just 15% of survey respondents had had contact with organisations that help BN(O)s to settle and integrate into the UK.

British Future said information should be made available online and through social media, as well as through libraries, schools and other local venues.