Onward Migration Pathways Over Time and Space
By defining skilled migrants as only those who migrate through skilled visa pathways, we cannot recognise the range of people who may in fact be skilled or highly educated but utilise different categories to facilitate their mobility. Narrow conceptualisations of skilled migration also discount those who are likely to be considered ‘skilled’ in the near future. Drawing upon empirical data, this chapter problematizes who is considered a skilled migrant in contemporary society by demonstrating the diverse mobility patterns and visa categories that reflect the continuum of migration experiences over time and through space. By reconceptualising skilled migration as a biographical and temporal project, involving diverse pathways towards becoming skilled, bureaucratic and static conceptualisations of this classification can be expanded and re-contextualised. I introduce the phrase educated and skilled ‘mobile settlers’, as an alternate framing to skilled migrants, to capture the diversity amongst migrants and the dynamism of their pathways. Using this framing, I describe the practices of people whose life histories have been punctuated by relatively frequent relocations, either repeatedly going away and coming back or moving incrementally from one location to another. This chapter will show how being a skilled migrant involves a complex negotiation of immigration/emigration contexts, qualifications and skills, personal ties and social locations, particularly along gender lines. Migrant relocation pathways are shown to be underpinned by serendipitous events and emotional attachments as much as by pre-determined and strategically motivated intentions.
KeywordsSkilled migration Middling-migrants Multi-stage migration Temporality Spatiality Biography
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