Negotiating Integration and Mobility – Experiences of Highly-Skilled German Immigrants in Canada

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 10:50
Oral Presentation
Anke PATZELT, University of Ottawa, Canada
Many Western European countries are currently experiencing high emigration rates, notably of their young and well-educated population. So far, there exist only few attempts to explain this recent phenomenon. However, in a time where countries increasingly compete to attract and keep the best and most qualified individuals to secure both a country’s competitiveness in the world market and cohesive nation-building, understanding the decision-making process lying behind these individuals’ mobility patterns, as well as their integration and settlement behavior becomes crucial. While individuals belonging to the group of the mobile elites are often portrayed as rational actors whose migrations are relatively “uncomplicated” as they often possess high human, social and cultural capital, the complexity lying behind their decisions of whether to stay or go, as well as their integration experiences are often ignored. This paper aims to shed light on these processes by examining highly-skilled, self-initiated German expatriates moving to and from Canada. Drawing on narrative interviews it will particularly explore how my interviewees negotiate processes of integration and belonging in different spheres of their lives (e.g. in their neighborhoods or cities, at work, or by participating in different social groups) and how these factors impact their decisions of whether to leave, stay, or return.