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Life courses of highly skilled Indian migrants in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom

PhD ceremony:Ms A. (Anu) Kou
When:November 07, 2016
Supervisors:prof. dr. L.J.G. (Leo) van Wissen, prof. dr. C.H. (Clara) Mulder
Co-supervisor:dr. A. Bailey
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Spatial Sciences
Life courses of highly skilled Indian migrants in the Netherlands
and the United Kingdom

Many developed countries have adopted policies that facilitate and regulate the immigration of highly skilled migrants as a partial remedy against short-term frictions on the labour market caused by an ageing population. Migration regulations, however, often lack the recognition that migration is a social process. This dissertation examines high-skilled migration from the life course perspective in order to acknowledge the social, cultural, and institutional contexts of migrants, as well as the dynamics in migration processes. The objective is to gain a deeper micro-level understanding of how the interdependencies of education, employment, and family trajectories shape the migration trajectories in particular, and the life courses in general of highly skilled migrants and their significant others.The key findings of this dissertation are, first, that migration is used as a pathway towards individualism and as a career strategy. Second, it is demonstrated that migration decision-making often depends on the life course stages of the linked lives of significant others. Third, the role of women as active agents in the migration process is highlighted, by showing that co-migrating female spouses do not sacrifice, but strategise their professional ambitions.Whereas high-skilled migration is often discussed and presented only in an economic context, and in terms of migrants’ financial contributions to host societies or their personal returns on investments in human capital, the findings from this qualitative study support taking a much broader perspective for a better understanding of migrants and migration processes.