But then many see no point in integrating, since they expect, often wrongly, that they will one day go back to China.
The vast majority come from poor areas in the Zhejiang province, south of Shanghai.
Local estimates of the true size of the Chinese community in Prato range as high as 50,000.Small wonder: that is the migration that the media focus on because it is the most evident, dramatic and tragic.An interior ministry reckoning from 2006 put the number of overstayers at 64 and the proportion who entered by sea at just.Yet only about 15,000 are officially registered there.That in turn highlights another salient aspect of this weeks blaze.In some cases, they were hired in China when the Italian firm outsourced its manufacturing.Few speak more than the most rudimentary Italian.Pronto moda, Prato-style, is a form of reverse globalisation.What they make is known as pronto moda : cheap fabric is imported, generally from China, and turned into high-fashion garments rencontre dans le 84 at a lightning pace for sale at rock-bottom prices of, in many cases, less than 5 (less than 7).Get our daily newsletter, upgrade your inbox and get our Daily Dispatch and Editor's Picks.Much of the profit is sneaked back to China before it can be taxed in Italy.
But far more of the non-Italians who are present illegally in Italy slipped in in more banal ways.
Largely because of Chinese competition Pratos own textile business has contracted sharply in recent years.
But it would seem that the vast majority simply arrived on a tourist visa and overstayed.Not the least of the attractions for the buyers who converge on Prato from all over Europe and further afield, is that the clothes carry a prestigious label, declaring they were Made in Italy.When Italians talk or think about illegal immigration they almost always have in mind rickety boats laden with Africans arriving in perilous conditions on their southern coasts.Some entered the European Unions passport-free Schengen area by smuggling themselves across a land border further to the east.But the citys traditional products are fabric and yarn, which are not directly vulnerable to the activities of the Chinese entrepreneurs.The Chinese-owned factory (pictured after the accident) is one of up to 5,000 in the area, part of an industry that has expanded at vertiginous speed in the past 20-odd years.