In recent decades, the world has seen an increase of migration flows from China. The profiles of Chinese migrants vary from highly qualified intellectuals to low skilled workers. Evidence shows that they are all contributing to economic development in various sectors in different ways. Meanwhile, the serious exploitation to which Chinese migrants, especially irregular migrant workers, are subject in European and American countries has been identified as a risk that can amount to trafficking for forced labour.
China has given high political priority to combating illegal migration and trafficking in human beings. Since September 2004 a capacity building project aiming at strengthening law enforcement in combating trafficking has been implemented by the International Labour Organization in collaboration with the Chinese Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS). Research on living and working conditions of Chinese migrant workers has been conducted in several European countries, including France, Italy and the United Kingdom.
In the above context, since 2007 the ILO in cooperation with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has been implementing a project on Capacity Building for Migration Management in China (CBMM) funded by the European Union (EU). It aims to stem irregular Chinese migration and trafficking and to promote safe and legal migration to the EU countries. It seeks to assist China by strengthening the capacity of its migration management apparatus. The project will promote cooperation between China and the EU Member States, will raise awareness of the risks associated with irregular migration and enhance the knowledge and understanding of respective migration management systems between relevant Chinese and EU Member State authorities through: trainings, study tours, providing resource library, guides dissemination, information campaign, an exchange of expertise and the establishment of a network of professional counterparts. The main ILO inputs relate to those aspects of the project concerned with the prevention and elimination of human trafficking.
As regards the research component of the project, a study on overall trends in migration from China to Europe will be carried out principally by the IOM. Further in-depth case studies at the country level are needed to help provide additional information and insights on both irregular and regular Chinese migration, including the impact of the different migration channels on working conditions, to contribute to more effective policy and management initiatives.
The research findings will serve as a knowledge base for dialogue between Chinese authorities and those of destination countries to help manage the migration influx. They will also be used to promote cooperation between China and EU countries in reducing the vulnerability of migrants to forced labour and trafficking.
Project Investigator and Coordinator: Dr. Bin WU
International Organization for Migration (IOM)
International Labour Organization (ILO)
The University of Nottingham
AENEAS China Project Capacity Building for Migration Management in China (CBMM)