Honolulu’s home rental rental industry is the largest in the country, but its growth has also been fueled by an influx of foreign workers from China, according to a report from the Hawaii Hotel & Resort Association.
Housing experts attribute the surge in foreign workers to the island’s proximity to China, which has been a top destination for American workers seeking to relocate to the U.S. and beyond.
But in an interview with CNNMoney, HRA president Mike Soto said the increase in foreign-born workers was a result of a changing job market, as well as a surge in international travelers from the mainland, a region that he says has been hit hard by a global economic downturn.
The HRA says the growth in foreign nationals has been driven by more than just the cost of living.
They want to be able to live a lifestyle that they can afford to live in a new country, and it’s a lifestyle they’re more comfortable with, Soto told CNNMoney.
“The economy in the United States is doing great,” Soto added.
So many people want to move here and they’re looking for a way to do it.
When you go from a country like Germany, where they’re paying people like you and me, the salaries are lower, the housing is cheaper, the transportation is cheaper and the restaurants are cheaper.
There’s a lot of competition and a lot more competition.
And you’re competing with foreign nationals who are going into Hawaii, and that’s going to create a real opportunity for them to come and do business here.
In 2016, the HRA reported that more than 100,000 foreign nationals visited Hawaii, with more than 2,000 new jobs created in the state.
Hawaii is one of several states, including California, Texas and New York, that have seen a spike in the number of foreign-based workers in recent years.
The U.N. estimates that nearly 11 million people have left their home countries for the U,S., while more than 9 million people are living abroad.