The Role of the Migration Industry in Chinese Student Migration to Finland: Towards a New Meso-level Approach

  • Hanwei Li
Part of the Palgrave Studies on Chinese Education in a Global Perspective book series (CEGP)


This chapter applies the theory of the migration industry to understand Chinese student migration to Finland. It suggests that the migration industry approach adds to social network or push-pull theories to articulate the various levels of analysis of international student migration. Using a qualitative approach based on semi-structured interviews with 30 mainland Chinese tertiary-level students in Finland, this research reveals that the migration industry can facilitate and channel international student mobility. It complements, and increasingly replaces, the role of migrant social networks in international student mobility. Students are using financial capital to compensate for their lack of human or social capital to ensure successful migration, which explains why student migration from China has become more accessible, but also more financially burdensome.



The study was a part of the Marie Curie project Transnational Migration, Citizenship and Circulation of Rights (TRANSMIC), funded by the European Union’s 7th Framework Programs, coordinated by Maastricht University, which the author gratefully acknowledges. The author would like to thank Professor Pirkko Pitkänen, Professor Thomas Faist, and Dr. Virve Kallioniemi-Chambers for providing constructive and useful comments on an earlier version this paper.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hanwei Li
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Manchester China InstituteThe University of ManchesterManchesterUK
  2. 2.Department of SociologyEast China University of Science and TechnologyShanghaiChina

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