Structuring the life course: biographies of highly skilled Indian migrants in the Netherlands

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

As the European Union aims at being the most successful knowledge-based economy in the world, it still needs additional labour force to ensure the realisation potential and sustainability of this target. The Netherlands, among many other countries, has therefore implemented highly skilled migrant visa to attract the best talent from abroad. However, highly skilled migrants have rarely been studied other than in terms of economic gain to the host country. This paper adopts the life course approach to examine the patterns of employment, migration, and household careers and their interdependencies of high-skilled Indians in the Netherlands. The role of factors that either facilitate or hinder migration decision making–such as migration policies, social and organisational networks, household members–will be examined as well. By means of biographical method we aim to get insights in how the migrants make sense of their own experiences and attach meaning to various life events. The narratives will provide a better micro-level understanding on the processes and contexts underlying high-skilled migration which is a step further from just cost-benefit analysis.

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Presented in Session 77: Brain drain and return migration

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