9th Conference European Sociological Association

RS10 Socio-Anthropology of Trans-national Migrations and Migrants' Families

2009-09-05 13:30:00 2009-09-05 15:00:00 Saturday, 5 September 13:30 - 15:00 Middle-class Migrations Building II, C2.05

Is Family a Stumbling block to Highly Skilled Migration to Europe?

Is Family a Stumbling block to Highly Skilled Migration to Europe?

The paper looks into how the decision to stay/ leave in a host country is structured by the role of the family of the highly skilled professionals, i.e. a spouse and children. Highly skilled migrants have been often conceptualised as a privileged group of migrants, as they cross the borders via working visas, which they receive relatively easy gratefully to their special rare skills; are welcome in the European Union and provided with steady salaries, international environment, social security, etc. by the receiving states. At the same time, it is acknowledged that the picture painted for the families of the professional migrants following them is much bleaker: Spouses are dependent on their partners' visas and usually have limited opportunities for finding their places in the new society; there is a persisting dilemma for professionals of whether to expose children to a new schooling system or whether to confront them with pressure of integration problems; significant efforts needed to acquire a new foreign language (determining the outcome of a search for a job), and the permanent instability linked to the dependency on the highly skilleds' visa, which play out negatively on the whole family. Therefore, the assumed privileges of the highly skilled may be well balanced out by the aforementioned negative impact on their families. The resulting dilemma with which the highly skilled are confronted is investigated in the proposed paper, which focuses on the case study of professionals from Russia who have come to Germany after 1999. Their representations of the lives in the EU have been collected during two rounds of semi-structured interviews and succeeding analysed with the help of atlas.ti. The implications of the analysis are then compared with the underlying assumptions of the emerging policy of the European Union in this field and in particular, the development of the Blue Card