Virtual Mobility Among Highly Skilled Migrants in Thailand

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 08:45
Oral Presentation
Chantanee CHAROENSRI, Thammasat University, Thailand
This article aims to demonstrate the limitation of an approach of movement of the highly skilled within the framework of migration studies. This study has proposed an alternative framework of virtual mobility which is believed to have allowed us to see two different kinds of movements. First, the highly skilled can exert influences from remote, whilst they stay put, that their socioeconomic impact can be felt within a specific system of mobility. Second, the highly skilled who move, when they do they have power to modify their destination such that their movement requires minimal adjustment. This is incomparable to the level of adjustment of the movement of the powerless, e.g. refugees, asylum seekers and illegal labor migrants. For these reasons, I thus propose that conceptualizing highly skilled migration should be considered in line with mobility paradigm, which has greater advantage in providing us with perspective of the first kind of mobility mentioned above, I shall use the term virtual mobility for it. The second form of mobility, I use the term mobile virtuality.

These forms of mobility will be illustrated through a case study of highly skilled migration in Thailand, focusing specifically on the case of Japanese highly skilled who moved through international networks of oversea corporations. This study will also demonstrate that to study mobility of the highly skilled, migrants should not be an exclusive focus for the reason that movement did not stop when they have reached their countries of destination. On the contrary, transformation of destination cities, networks of people, things, communication and infrastructure that transcend borders are parts of the mobility system that we should consider. Such perspectives will provide us with more concrete view on how mobility has actualized.