University of Warsaw, Centre of Migration Research (CMR), Warsaw
Chinese and Vietnamese immigrants were long understood through their ethnic enclave activity, and considered as economic migrants focused on wealth generation, without much desire for deeper social or economic integration. We draw on results of a quantitative study to challenge these assumptions and to analyse the significance of both economic and noneconomic factors in shaping intentions to stay. We first place our discussion within literature on economic migrations from East Asia, and discuss how in line with their growing diversification, the Chinese and Vietnamese economic integration in Poland might take place beyond traditional activity centred around the ethnic enclave economy. We then bring attention to the growing importance of non-economic factors, which play a significant role in professional and livelihood decision-making. Unlike earlier migration waves, both groups attach significant importance to non-economic aspects of life in Poland, including a good environment for rising children and access to public services, such as education or the healthcare system. For both groups, these factors make Poland an attractive destination and might compensate for the lower salaries or limited opportunities for professional development. Our research also shows that economic integration, as measured by work outside of the ethnic enclave economy and by economic success (job satisfaction or higher income) was not relevant for settlement plans among either the Chinese or the Vietnamese.