Diversity and Relational Perspectives
Edited by Katerina Nicolopoulou, Mine Karataş-Özkan, Ahu Tatli and John Taylor
Chapter 3: Immigration and Emigration Decisions Among Highly Skilled British Expatriates in Vancouver
3. Immigration and emigration decisions among highly skilled British expatriates in Vancouver* William S. Harvey INTRODUCTION There is an extensive literature on economic migrants moving to and from their home and host countries. There has been a strong emphasis on the economic drivers of migration, although other factors such as social networks have been seen as important, but secondary in significance. This chapter intends to explore the degree to which social factors are less important than economic factors in influencing migration decisions. Furthermore, there will be an exploration of how social networks and in particular transnational ties influence migration decisions. Within the migration literature, our understanding of the motivations and determinants of highly skilled migration remains somewhat limited. This is surprising given that this group has made a critical contribution to different labour markets, and governments and companies are keen to implement policies to attract such workers. Again, it is not clear whether this group move through formal structures such as internal company transfers (ICTs), or as students, or for other purposes. In short, this chapter explores the key factors that would drive highly skilled migrants to leave their host and home countries. The chapter adopts a case study approach and focuses on a group of highly skilled British expatriates working in a range of economic sectors around Vancouver. MICROECONOMIC THEORIES OF MIGRATION Microeconomic theorists argue that rational individuals will move when they expect to receive a greater increase in per capita labour earnings (Sjaastad, 1962). This also applies to...
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