Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Laure Sandoz
    Pages 1-52 Open Access
  3. Laure Sandoz
    Pages 53-93 Open Access
  4. Laure Sandoz
    Pages 95-133 Open Access
  5. Laure Sandoz
    Pages 135-186 Open Access
  6. Laure Sandoz
    Pages 187-236 Open Access
  7. Laure Sandoz
    Pages 237-244 Open Access

About this book


This open access book analyses the strategies of migration intermediaries from the public and private sectors in Switzerland to select, attract, and retain highly skilled migrants who represent value to them. It reveals how state and economic actors define “wanted immigrants” and provide them with privileged access to the Swiss territory and labour market. The analysis draws on an ethnographic study conducted in the French-speaking Lake Geneva area and the German-speaking northwestern region of Switzerland between 2014 and 2018. It shows how institutional actors influence which resources are available to different groups of newcomers by defining and dividing migrants according to constructed social categories that correlate with specific status and privileges. This research thus shifts the focus from an approach that takes the category of highly skilled migrant for granted to one that regards context as crucial for structuring migrants’ characteristics, trajectories, and experiences. Beyond consideration of professional qualifications, the ways decision-makers perceive candidates and shape their resource environments are crucial for constructing them as skilled or unskilled, wanted or unwanted, welcome or unwelcome.


Open access French-speaking Leman region Migration intermediaries German-speaking northwestern region of Switzerland Economic Interest Mobile Workers Migration and integration Highly skilled migrants Swiss territory Labour labor market

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Cultural Anthropology and European EthnologyUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland

About the authors

Laure Sandoz currently works as a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Cultural Anthropology and European Ethnology, University of Basel and at the Institute of Geography, University of Neuchâtel. She is part of the NCCR On the Move, an interdisciplinary project financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation, which aims to enhance the understanding of contemporary migration patterns. She contributes to two research projects on the management of highly skilled migration towards Switzerland and on the spatial mobility capital of entrepreneurs in Europe and Latin America. She obtained her PhD from the University of Basel in May 2018 and won the MPDI/GRACE Engagement Award for her innovative research, initiatives and activities in social engagement in line with regional development in the Basel area.

She studied anthropology, psychology and migration studies in Switzerland (University of Neuchâtel) and Germany (Freie Universität Berlin). As part of her Master in social sciences, she specialized in development studies and conducted an ethnographic field-research on the local re-appropriations of an agroforestry project in tropical Bolivia. Parallel to her studies, Laure Sandoz worked as a secretary and administrative coordinator at the Centre for Migration Law, a collaboration between researchers in law and social sciences from the Universities of Neuchâtel, Bern and Fribourg.

Before her studies, Laure Sandoz lived during eight months in Ecuador, where she volunteered in several projects. As a main mission, she taught English during six months in a Kichwa village of the Amazon region.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Mobilities of the Highly Skilled towards Switzerland
  • Book Subtitle The Role of Intermediaries in Defining “Wanted Immigrants”
  • Authors Laure Sandoz
  • Series Title IMISCOE Research Series
  • Series Abbreviated Title IMISCOE Research Series
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2019
  • License CC BY
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences Social Sciences (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-030-21121-9
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-21124-0
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-030-21122-6
  • Series ISSN 2364-4087
  • Series E-ISSN 2364-4095
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XIII, 244
  • Number of Illustrations 10 b/w illustrations, 4 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Migration
    Labor Economics
  • Buy this book on publisher's site