Return migration

Re-entry acculturative experiences of Chinese returnees from Australian and New Zealand higher education institutions

Authored by: Mingsheng Li , Yi Yang

The Routledge Companion to Migration, Communication, and Politics

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  December  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138058149
eBook ISBN: 9781315164472
Adobe ISBN:


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This study examines the re-entry acculturative challenges and experiences of foreign-educated Chinese returnees in China. Participating in the study were 52 Chinese students who had graduated from higher education institutions in Australia and New Zealand and 10 Chinese employers in 18 Chinese cities. The study found that the receiving countries’ push and the origin country’s pull factors played a critical role in motivating Chinese students to return to China. The push factors include immigration policy changes, difficulties in finding employment, the glass-ceiling effect, white privilege, and discrimination. Chinese students were lured back to China by these pull factors: rapid economic development, career opportunities, attractive government policies, family ties, and a sense of belonging. However, there were challenges during their return migration that made their cultural re-adaptation and reintegration difficult, such as lack of work experience, changed public perception of foreign qualifications, strong competition in the labor market, and low salary. Overall, returnees were highly regarded and welcomed by Chinese employers who eagerly sought after high-caliber returnees.

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