The United Kingdom has historically been a popular destination for Hong Kong immigrants due to the colonial relationship between the two countries. The UK's popularity among immigrants was also helped by the fact that the English language enjoys official status in both countries. While many Hong Kong-born residents of the UK are ethnically Chinese, others include the children of colonial parentage (British and/or other European heritage, and people with ancestries from other parts of the former British colonial empire) born in Hong Kong prior to the transfer of sovereignty to China in 1997.
The 2001 Census recorded 96,445 Hong Kong-born people residing in the United Kingdom.Office for National Statistics estimates suggest that the Hong Kong-born resident population was 78,000 in 2009. These figures would have excluded people who were born elsewhere, yet raised in and emigrated to the UK from HK, and descendants of Hongkongers born within the UK.