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Research sharing seminar

A Hub that can never be a Home: Low-income Migrants and Crimmigration in Hong Kong

“Immigration Detention and Vulnerable Migrants in Hong Kong” Research Methodology Sharing Series

Immigration Detention and Vulnerable Migrants in Hong Kong” in the Faculty of Law at the Chinese University of Hong Kong is a 3-year project to evaluate the immigration detention system in Hong Kong in relation to vulnerable migrants, including refugees, migrant domestic workers, and victims of trafficking. It is funded by the RGC Research Impact Fund (HK$ 4.3 million). The project utilizes interdisciplinary and socio-legal methods to conduct the inquiry by analysing official data obtained through applications under the Code on Access to Information, conducting semi-structured interviews with government personnel, civil society organisations, detainees, and other stakeholders, investigating legal case studies, joining court hearings, and conducting comparative analysis of immigration detention systems in other jurisdictions. In this talk, Prof. Surabhi Chopra will introduce the project and the team’s experience of trying to combine socio-legal research with impact generation.

Surabhi Chopra will present findings from her RGC-funded project, Immigration Detention and Vulnerable Migrants in Hong Kong (2020-2023), and reflect on experience of designing and implementing impact-oriented multi-methods research.

Her talk will highlight how the immigration regime in Hong Kong renders low-income migrants vulnerable to exclusion, detention, and removal from the city.  Even as Hong Kong’s immigration regime enables elite migrants – ‘expatriates’ – to work and settle in the region, it creates precarious conditions for low-income migrants. She will examine the ways that Hong Kong law and police serve to criminalize migration and migrants, with a particular focus on the under-researched role of immigration detention in such exclusion.   

She will also highlight efforts to make her research on immigration detention impactful (the project was funded by the RGC’s Research Impact Fund), and discuss challenges and lessons learned in this regard.  

For more information about the research project, please visit the project website:

Date: August 31, 2023 (Thursday)
Time: 08:00 pm – 09:10 pm Hong Kong time
Format: Online via Zoom
Language: English

About the Speakers:

Surabhi Chopra is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, Chinese University of Hong Kong and heads the “Immigration Detention and Vulnerable Migrants in Hong Kong” research project.  She researches the regulation of migration, national security laws, and sectarian violence in Asia.

Prof. Surabhi Chopra
Date & Time
August 31, 2023 (Thursday) 20:00-21:10 HKT