Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the labour market experiences of highly skilled migrants from developed countries who are not linguistic or visible minorities in the host country. Design/methodology/approach – The results of the paper derive from interviews with 64 highly skilled British migrants in Vancouver. Participants were asked open‐end and closed‐ended questions and the data from the interviews were coded and analysed manually. Findings – British migrants were divided with their labour market outcomes. Some cited positive experiences such as better responsibility, treatment and salary, while others cited negative experiences such as having to re‐accredit, unduly proving themselves to their employers and not having their international experience recognised. Research limitations/implications – The results are particular to a single case study, hence they cannot be generalised or taken to represent the experiences of all British skilled migrants in Vancouver. Practical implications – Governments and organisations should ensure that they fulfil any promises they make to highly skilled migrants before the migration process and manage their expectations. Otherwise they face problems with brain waste and migrant retention in the short term and attracting foreign talent in the long term. They should also consider taking a more flexible approach to recognising foreign qualifications, skills and international experience. Originality/value – The paper adds to our understanding of migrant groups from countries who share similar social and cultural characteristics to the host population. The paper shows that labour market integration challenges are not exclusive to low skilled visible minority migrants, but also to highly skilled migrants who speak the same first language and have the same skin colour as the majority of the host population.
Employee Relations: An International Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 28, 2012
Keywords: Canada; Migrant workers; Skills; Qualifications; Expatriates; Labour market; Highly skilled migrants; Integration; Work
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