Made in France? Chinese Student Return Migration from French Business Schools


Collective Action to Support the Reintegration of Return Migrants in their Country of Origin (MIREM)Chinese migration to France is not a new phenomenon; however, France has seen rapid growth of migration from China in the past decade. Among the increasingly diverse migratory flow, a prominent group is Chinese students. As in many European countries, more and more Chinese students are now studying in France, at universities, grandes écoles and language schools etc… There is limited research focusing on this group of migrants. Therefore, this paper will analyse the circular migration of Chinese students between China and France by focusing on the return migration from elite French business schools. It illustrates the importance of prior experiences and pre-acquisition of academic and professional capital on their choice to migrate to France. At the same time, this paper investigates how family ties with China and institutional agents (private and public sectors) and the multiple-layers of forces (national and supranational) behind Chinese student return migration. This paper argues that the strong family relations and contacts, career strategy and prospects for returnees and confidence in the Chinese economy are significant return factors. Returnees’ academic, professional and social experiences in France are also important in their decision. In addition, it shows how these talents are integrated in the skilled labour market and how they maintain connections with France. The return migration of Chinese students from France is a unique link and network, which needs cooperation from both parties to ensure a win-win brains circulation

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This paper was published in Cadmus, EUI Research Repository.

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