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Mobile Brains and the Question of ‘Deskilling’:
High-skilled South Asian migrants in Denmark

Abstract

Based on two ethnographic studies on the experiences of high-skilled migrants in Denmark, we argue that it is problematic to presume a simple correlation between ‘deskilling’ and what is often regarded as low-status jobs. We claim that many of these migrants are, albeit discreetly, actively gaining new skills and knowledge through low-status jobs not related to their qualifications and/or utilising their existing knowledge and skills in their everyday lives. We approach skills as a social construct that differs according to context and under particular historical circumstances, not merely as a neutral, measurable and easily transferable human capital. The article offers critical analysis of simultaneous processes of skilling–deskilling–reskilling–upskilling linked to migration and generates new insights into debates on highly educated migrants in a Nordic context.

Open access
Stimulating Flexible Citizenship: The Impact of Dutch and Indian Migration Policies on the Lives of Highly Skilled Indian Migrants in the Netherlands

Abstract

This paper explores the relationship between migration and integration policies in the Netherlands, diaspora policies in India, and the transnational practices of Indian highly skilled migrants to the Netherlands. We employ anthropological transnational migration theories (e.g., Ong 1999; Levitt and Jaworsky 2007) to frame the dynamic interaction between a sending and a receiving country on the lives of migrants. This paper makes a unique contribution to migration literature by exploring the policies of both sending and receiving country in relation to ethnographic data on migrants. The international battle for brains has motivated states like the Netherlands and India to design flexible migration and citizenship policies for socially and economically desirable migrants. Flexible citizenship policies in the Netherlands are primarily concerned with individual and corporate rights and privileges, whereas Indian diaspora policies have been established around the premise of national identity.

Open access