Highly Skilled Migration Between Developed Countries: The Case Study of German Emigrants in the UK.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal I (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Distributed Paper
Elena SAMARSKY, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
The subject of emigration from developed countries challenges the
traditional view on migration, as it raises the question of why people
chose to leave their highly-industrialized countries known for their
high life standards, stable political scene and prosperous economy. In
such context, the case study of  highly skilled emigration from
Germany is furthermore intriguing due to the country's financial
power as well as other well-developed and  world renowned attributes.
From the theoretical perspective such a case study allows investigating
migration in cases where there is no one overshadowing reason for
migration (e.g.strong economic incentive or political unrest).
Moreover, it contributes to the ongoing debate over the extent of the
influence of the GDP and personal wealth on migration decision and in
particular on the way they frame individual migration path, define
motivation and colour the experiences of migration action itself.
The paper is based on the analysis of the migration decisions obtained
through in-depth interviews with highly skilled German emigrants in
the UK. In the course of the project, it became evident that although
securing  financial stability was non-negotiable factor in migration
(work contract singed before relocation) non-pecuniary factors
played a significant role in the interviewees' migration decisions, and in many
cases determined the country of destination. Migration narratives of
this group - the highly skilled, whose human capital is transferable,
and whose expertise is positively evaluated by countries - is mainly
characterised by search for personal development either through
personal experience or career opportunities. Migration in such cases
is rather depicted as an opportunistic action addressed in terms of
voluntary and rather calculated decision