A Research Companion
Edited by Mustafa F. Özbilgin and Ayala Malach-Pines
Chapter 20: Career Choices of Skilled Migrants: A Holistic Perspective
Jawad Syed INTRODUCTION Highly skilled migrants constitute an increasingly large component of international migration today (Iredale, 2001). According to an estimate, there are about 1.5 million skilled migrants from developing countries in the industrialized countries alone (Stalker, 2000). Many studies have highlighted the contributions of skilled migrants in improving the economic and political stability of the host countries. Scholars generally agree that immigration tends to maximize opportunity and enrich host economies by shifting human resources from where they are abundant (or less rewarded) to where they are most needed (Kerr, 1997; Benson-Rea and Rawlinson, 2003). Papademetriou and Yale-Loehr (1995, p. 2) argue that, more than ever before, immigration merits an appropriate recognition in the broader strategy of national progress and planning. Indeed, this increased level of mobility manifests the internationalization of professions or professional labour markets (Iredale, 2001), an important subject in contemporary academic and policy research. Migrant research worldwide is generally informed by human capital theory using quantitative tools to examine how individual attributes of migrants aﬀect their labour market outcomes. The proponents of this theory suggest that human capital has a key role in the career prospects of migrants because occupational achievements have a positive correlation with diﬀerent levels of productivity (Becker, 1993; Mincer, 1993). Accordingly, an investment in skill is seen as an investment in productivity that returns in terms of income through gainful employment (Mayer, 1995). The critics of human capital theory argue that instead of oﬀering indepth insights into the issues and...
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