Migration of Highly Skilled Chinese to Europe: Trends and Perspective



Since China's economic opening and reforms in 1978, the country has broadened and deepened its exchanges and relations with other countries. This has contributed to the increase in the scale of international migration of highly skilled Chinese abroad. The impact of the migration of highly skilled Chinese on China and the relevant nations particularly deserve attention and study. Following the earlier migration flows mainly to the United States, Japan, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, the migration of highly skilled Chinese to Europe has become a notable new trend.

Currently, the flow of international migration of highly skilled Chinese personnel is mainly oriented toward Europe and the United States. While studying abroad has been the main form of migration of the skilled, this has now been joined by the migration of technical and professional staff, and the trend is increasing. The main country of destination for Chinese students is the United States, which absorbs more than half of the total, while Australia and Canada receive the largest number of skilled Chinese manpower. The United States also receives a large number of Chinese technical personnel, but its proportion has declined, while the flow to Europe has sharply increased.

This development may be attributed to the global expansion of economic, scientific and technological, as well as cultural and educational exchanges and cooperation. But it is also the result of an increase in the educational investment made by the Chinese people following the continuous increase in China's economic strength and the population's personal income. Of greater importance are the gaps between China and Europe at the scientific, technological, and educational levels and the research and marketing environment. The intervening changes in labour market and immigration policies in European and American countries accelerate the trend further. For all of these and other reasons, the spatial distribution of Chinese students will become more balanced and play a positive role in the promotion of mutually beneficial exchanges between China and other countries.