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Chinese migration to Europe: challenges and opportunities

Resolution 2083 (2015)

Parliamentary Assembly
Text adopted by the Standing Committee, acting on behalf of the Assembly, on 27 November 2015 (see Doc. 13843, report of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons, rapporteur: Mr Thierry Mariani).
1. With China becoming the largest economy in the world, the migration flows with Europe have increased exponentially in recent decades. Following the liberalisation of the Chinese economy and the relaxation of Chinese mobility restrictions, Europe has become a popular destination for Chinese migrants. Around 2.8 million Chinese citizens currently reside legally in Council of Europe member States, with the largest groups in France, Italy, the Russian Federation and the United Kingdom. Well-established family networks have allowed migrants to follow their friends and relatives to communities in cities across Europe, in many cases by using illegal channels.
2. The Parliamentary Assembly considers that the growing Chinese population across Europe presents a number of opportunities but also important challenges, which should be addressed through legislation and policy, both in individual member States and at the European level.
3. The Assembly is concerned that many Chinese migrants use illegal smuggling networks to reach Europe and are exploited by traffickers. These irregular migrants are not entitled to any legal protection and are often faced with extremely dangerous and poor working conditions.
4. The issue of integrating Chinese migrants represents another challenge for European migration policies. The problem of the isolation of Chinese communities in many European cities requires strong political will at all administrative levels to encourage a dialogue with Chinese organisations and their involvement in the decision-making process on issues concerning them.
5. The Assembly also believes that the influx of Chinese migrants to Europe should be viewed in terms of the inherent potential for economic growth which these migrants present. Both China and Europe stand to gain a great deal from increased relations and mutual investment.
6. With the aim of maximising the benefits of increased migration between China and Europe, the Assembly calls on its member States to:
6.1 develop co-operation with the relevant Chinese authorities on data collection and reporting on irregular migration;
6.2 enhance collaboration with the Chinese authorities on criminal investigations to identify trafficking and smuggling networks operating between Europe and China;
6.3 provide training programmes for Chinese immigration officials, police, consular officers and travel agencies on fraudulent documents and the risks of smuggling;
6.4 facilitate access to the nationality of the host country and grant long-term residence permits to Chinese migrants;
6.5 develop policies that facilitate the possibilities for qualified students to find work in Europe after their studies;
6.6 sign bilateral agreements with China on social security, education and other integration-related issues;
6.7 promote a positive image of Chinese migration in Europe, focusing on its benefits and the new opportunities it brings;
6.8 promote intercultural dialogue between Chinese communities and the communities of the host countries, including other migrant communities;
6.9 develop dialogue with Chinese organisations and civil society to create projects responding to the integration needs of Chinese communities;
6.10 identify and promote the best practices of Chinese integration in Europe;
6.11 encourage the representation of Chinese communities at local level;
6.12 facilitate the preservation of links between Chinese migrants and their country of origin by supporting projects promoting the use of new communication technologies in the Chinese language.
7. The Assembly invites the European Union and relevant international organisations, in particular the International Organization for Migration (IOM), to develop programmes aimed at promoting co-operation between Europe and China in the field of migration.