Victims or heroes? Elucidating the Profile of Current Irregular Chinese Migrants in Belgium. International Workshop ‘Migrations between the East and the West: Normalizing the Periphery. Xiamen University, China, 2-5- april 2006



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Victims or heroes? Elucidating the Profile of Current Irregular Chinese Migrants in Belgium.

International Workshop ‘Migrations between the East and the West: Normalizing the Periphery. Xiamen University, China, 2-5- april 2006

Main issue:


Agency versus victimhood
In anthropology: main focus on migrants strategies, migrants life and migration project
In legal studies and criminology, emphasis is on victimhood
Methodology:
Desk research:

-academic articles

-government documents

-international reports, in particular the Hypocrates report on human trafficking: case study of Belgium

-police files and statistics

-court cases


Interviews:

-12 in-depth interviews with undocumented Chinese in Belgian detention centers

-leading figures in the Chinese community

-government officials and administrators

-employees of centers of victims of human trafficking

General background:


The current Chinese migration to Europe takes place in a restrictive immigration legal framework.
Three waves of Chinese migration:
-the bachelor migration in the mid-19th and beginning of the 20th century from Zhejiang (Thuno 1999) and Guangdong
-the post war migration from the former British crown colony of Hong Kong (Baker 1994; Parker 1998; Pieke 1998; Rijckschroeff 1998; Skeldon 1994; Watson 1975; Wubben 1986).
-Migration from the PRC within a restrictive immigration policy
Since 1974 an immigration stop for unskilled migrants in Belgium. The two legal entry channels for low skilled migrants with view of long term residence:


  1. asylum

  2. family reunification.

Regularisation on an ad hoc basis also provides a channel for obtaining residence and settlement rights. Legal entry for a short-term residence include: students, researchers and guest professors, skilled workers (earning minimal annual income of 33.082 euro), managers and CEOs of multinationals (earning minimal annual income of 55.193 euro), tourists and short-term business travelers.






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