China's rich and skilled leave in record numbers

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 December, 2012, 12:45pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 December, 2012, 7:16pm

More than 150,000 Chinese became permanent citizens in major immigrant countries including the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand last year, topping the world’s list of overseas migration in absolute numbers, a recent report revealed.

The Centre for China and Globalisation (CCD) and Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT) School of Law jointly released their findings in the Chinese International Talents Annual Blue Book's International Migration Report (2012) on Monday, according to media reports.

Global migration increased from 195 million in 2005 to 214 million in 2010, constituting 3.1 per cent of the world's population, statistics showed.

International migration in and out of China spiked in the past decade. In 2010, the number of overseas Chinese reached 45 million, ranking first in the world.

Another report by Hurun Research Institute and Bank of China in 2011 found that 14 per cent of China’s high-net-worth individuals had either emigrated or were in the process of doing so.

In addition, 46 per cent were considering permanently moving overseas through various immigrant investor programmes with real estate, foreign currency deposits and stocks being the primary areas of investment.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) declared that 41 per cent of total EB-5 Immigration Investor Programme applicants were Chinese while the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship reported that 61.5 per cent of applicants for the Business Skilled Migration Programme were Chinese.

China’s brain and wealth drain is increasing as highly-skilled professionals and wealthy individuals leave the country in record numbers in search of better education and services, secure investment environments and higher standards of living.

The report concluded by identifying six international migration development trends: increasing size and complexity of international migration – IOM forecasts the total number of international migrants to reach 405 million by 2050; increasing proportion of skilled migration; deepening integration of immigrants in host countries; rising environmental migration; increasing role of non-governmental organisations in the issue of modern international migration; and increasing complexity of irregular immigration issues.