Migrant biographies: a life course approach to high-skilled migration

Anu Kõu, University of Groningen
Ajay Bailey, University of Groningen
Leo van Wissen, University of Groningen

The rapid decline in transportation and telecommunications costs are encouraging the swift mobility of skilled migrants. Concurrently, many of the European Union countries search for the ways to attract highly skilled migrants in order to deal with the consequences of population decline and shortage of skilled labour. It is not only important to examine labour migrants as economic bodies but also as people who experience various life transitions. As previous research has rarely linked high-skilled migration and life course, this paper aims to provide a theoretical framework for the interdependencies of knowledge migrants’ parallel careers of migration, employment and household. The role of linked lives, historical and social time on their biographies (life paths) and human agency is studied as well. Applying life course approach enables to gain deeper understanding of the influence of life paths, social networks, diasporas and immigration policies on the migration decision-making among highly skilled migrants.

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Presented in Session 210: International migration: methods and data