RECORD numbers of Hong Kong people continue to migrate to Canada. Last year, more than 30,000 began a new life there. Comparatively, in 1986, those leaving for Canada totalled about 9,000. Canada is still a popular destination for Hong Kong residents who are seeking security from the change of sovereignty. Latest statistics show that 20 per cent of all new Canadian immigrants come from the territory. Canadian Commission Consul Neil Reeder said: ''We have a very welcoming culture with as many languages as the United Nations. ''Canada is a truly multi-cultural society. ''We also have a long history of ties with China and Hong Kong. There are now more than 700,000 ethnic Chinese living in Canada.'' But life has not been easy for everyone who has left. Canada now appears to be finally emerging from a recession which has hit the business prospects of some new settlers. Authorities estimated about 15 per cent of those who left have returned to Hong Kong to work, while retaining their citizenship. The problems of the Canadian economy, along with faith in business prospects, contributed to a drop in the number of people applying to move to Canada. In the past two years, Canadian authorities have seen a 15 per cent fall in visa applications. Most migrants actually applied in the years directly after the Tiananmen Square incident and their visas have only just been processed. But Mr Reeder said Canada's economic prospects had improved considerably and there had never been a better time to seek citizenship. ''The economy here is picking up and the indicators are looking good for the future,'' he said. ''We have also increased the number of people working here in Hong Kong so we can process people's immigration applications much quicker.'' Toronto and Vancouver remain the cities attracting most migrants, as they are home to large Chinese communities. Chinese has even become Canada's third most widely spoken language. Canadian authorities are still extremely keen to attract Hong Kong business capital and know-how, as well as skilled workers. Of the many migrants, 20 per cent have set foot in Canada to be re-united with their families there. But nearly 40 per cent come from the business community - a welcome boost to the Canadian economy.