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Back to Hong Kong: Return migration or transnational sojourn? - page 9 / 33





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But ominously (and ironically) interviews disclosed that economic factors

did not appear to be prominent among the list of motives behind

migration, although many new arrivals landed in Canada as economic

migrants, including the largest single national group of millionaire

immigrants granted admission as business investors and entrepreneurs.

Indeed, the business immigration programme has not unfolded as

expected (Ley 2003). For a range of reasons, and despite their impressive

pre-migration business experience, many Hong Kong migrants found

economic success elusive in Canada. The business culture was far more

regulated than they were familiar with, language was frequently a

problem, and many who chose to invest in the ethnic enclave economy

found cut-throat competition in a saturated market. There is a

suggestion too that a number were not fully committed to the task, but

were seeking an insurance policy in Canadian citizenship, and that once

this had been secured they would return to an advantageous pre-existing

economic niche in East Asia. Mak (1997) has noted that some Hong Kong

firms gave favoured employees departing for Australia a two-year leave of

absence, time to qualify for citizenship and return to their former

position. Senior managers at the Canadian Consulate in Hong Kong told

us how in the early 1990s, they had confronted a new phenomenon for

which their manuals gave them no answers. Well-qualified residents were

applying for Canadian immigration visas, though the managers strongly

suspected they had no real desire to live in Canada. Here were the

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