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Motion for a resolution | Doc. 12862 | 31 January 2012

Chinese migration to Europe: challenges and opportunities

Author(s): several Assembly members

Signatories: Mr Nikolaos DENDIAS, Greece, EPP/CD ; Ms Oksana BILOZIR, Ukraine, EPP/CD ; Mr Boriss CILEVIČS, Latvia, SOC ; Ms Deirdre CLUNE, Ireland, EPP/CD ; Mr Titus CORLĂŢEAN, Romania, SOC ; Mr David DARCHIASHVILI, Georgia, EPP/CD ; Mr Don DAVIES, Canada ; Ms Tülin ERKAL KARA, Turkey, EPP/CD ; Mr Norbert HAUPERT, Luxembourg, EPP/CD ; Mr Tadeusz IWIŃSKI, Poland, SOC ; Ms Athina KYRIAKIDOU, Cyprus, SOC ; Ms Christine MARIN, France, EPP/CD ; Mr Bernard MARQUET, Monaco, ALDE ; Mr Edgar MAYER, Austria, EPP/CD ; Sir Alan MEALE, United Kingdom, SOC ; Mr Gebhard NEGELE, Liechtenstein, EPP/CD ; Ms Elsa PAPADIMITRIOU, Greece, EPP/CD ; Mr Gerhard PFISTER, Switzerland, EPP/CD ; Mr René ROUQUET, France, SOC ; Mr Jim SHERIDAN, United Kingdom, SOC ; Mr Mykola SHERSHUN, Ukraine, ALDE ; Mr Tuğrul TÜRKEŞ, Turkey, EDG ; Mr Konstantinos VRETTOS, Greece, SOC

This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and commits only those who have signed it.

Chinese migration to Europe has increased both in the scale and degree of professionalisation, in the range of origins, destinations and social backgrounds of the people involved, as well as the methods of entry and the types of activities pursued in Europe. An estimated 2.8 million Chinese reside in the Council of Europe member States today, with the largest populations in Russia, France, United Kingdom and Italy. Their numbers are growing rapidly, particularly in Southern and Central Europe.

China is a significant source country for irregular migrants in Europe, which is linked to the de facto acceptance of high numbers of unauthorised migrant workers and the existence of ample employment opportunities for them in the informal economy, and that regardless of the current economic recession. Chinese smuggling organisations are particularly sophisticated, making a multi-billion euro business out of it. Irregular migrants employed in the ethnic Chinese sectors (restaurants, sweatshops) or elsewhere are without any legal protection, often working under particularly exploitative conditions.

But there are also other important dimensions of Chinese migration to Europe. Not least, there has been remarkable growth in student migration, associated with the economic growth in China and more people being able to afford to pay their children to go to study abroad. Skilled labour migrants such as health workers are also growingly in demand in many countries in Europe. There is a danger that the benefits of this type of migration, for both Europe and China, may be overlooked in current policy approaches dominated by a focus on irregular migration.

Chinese migration remains little studied in Europe. The Parliamentary Assembly therefore considers that there is a need to look at these parallel dimensions and how governments should deal with the new challenges and opportunities of Chinese migration.