Chinese Migrant Workers with High Educational Backgrounds in Sweden

Tuesday, 12 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal I (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Distributed Paper
Chia-Ling YANG, Department of Sociology and Work Science, Gothenburg University, Sweden, Graduate Institute of Gender Equity Education, National Kaohsiung Normal University, Taiwan
Denis FRANK, Department of Sociology and Work Science, Gothenburg University, Sweden
Sweden introduced a new immigration policy in 2008 that encourages labour immigration from countries outside EU. The new immigration policy has promoted a globalization of migration to Sweden. In earlier periods of labour immigration, the main share of migrants originated in European states, but after the immigration policy reform, the largest numbers of migrants instead comes from Thailand, India, and China.

This article is part of the research result on migrants from India and China in Sweden, with a specific focus on the Chinese young people in Sweden. Based on in-depth interviews of these young people from China, this article aims to explore their motives, experiences, dreams and difficulties in the processes of migration.

Among the young people discussed in this article, those who work in academics or high-tech companies either came to Sweden to study or got the opportunity to work in Sweden because of their previous network built up in international companies in China. Nevertheless, others who also have higher educational background either faced layoffs in high-tech companies and found that changes in immigration policy have limited their opportunities for searching for new jobs. Still others failed to find a job compatible with their professional background and ended up in the catering trade.

With a close analysis of these young people’s experiences, this article intends to explore the impacts of Swedish immigration policy change on these Chinese young people’s life as well as to link their choices in migration to local contexts in both China and Sweden and to global contexts. By doing so, this article aims to have further dialogue with migrant studies.