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Studying where the jobs are: Mainland Chinese students in Hong Kong

Timothy Wai Wa Yuen (Department of Education Policy and Leadership, The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China)
Alan Chi Keung Cheung (The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China)
Ping Man Wong (Faculty of Education, University of Macau, Macau, China)

Asian Education and Development Studies

ISSN: 2046-3162

Article publication date: 10 July 2017




Mainland Chinese students (hereafter called Mainland students) are a major source of international student applications. Some countries have initiated policies to enable Mainland students to stay and work after graduation. Additions to the literature, particularly more country-specific studies, are much needed to cast light on the employment issues for such Mainland students overseas. The purpose of this paper is to fill this gap by focussing on Mainland students who have completed teacher education programmes in Hong Kong and then served as teachers in Hong Kong schools (Mainland teachers). The incentives that attracted them to stay and work in Hong Kong and the challenges they faced were examined. Their future plans were also probed.


The study adopted a mixed methodology. Data collection comprised both a questionnaire survey and interviews. The semi-structured interviews provided opportunities for respondents to explain their answers, to narrate and widen the scope of data to areas hitherto unanticipated by the researchers.


Mainland teachers were attracted to stay on in Hong Kong to work for both intrinsic and extrinsic reasons. They were in fact settlers. They found the programmes they had taken to be practical and believed that they had acquired a niche situation in the teaching profession. Working and living in Hong Kong was satisfying, but some experienced social distance from local colleagues.


The paper can be read with reference to countries that recruit Mainland students and there is a possibility that some of them may stay behind to work. It sheds light on the selection criteria of such students, on ways to enrich their programmes, as well as their employment, living and social integration issues.



Yuen, T.W.W., Cheung, A.C.K. and Wong, P.M. (2017), "Studying where the jobs are: Mainland Chinese students in Hong Kong", Asian Education and Development Studies, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 290-302.



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