Exploring Social Mobility Patterns of Highly Skilled Chinese Migrants in the United Kingdom and Spain
The scholarship on migration in Europe heavily focuses on the integration of economically vulnerable migrants. In the age of commercialization of education, however, the European Union attracts a growing number of highly skilled non-EU migrants, many of whom settle in Europe upon graduation. In particular, European universities host large and continuously growing Chinese student populations. Surprisingly, although the number of Chinese students and postgraduates in the EU grows, academic scholarship largely ignores the labor incorporation paths that these highly skilled migrants take. Consequently, lacunae in the research on patterns and mechanisms of the Chinese highly skilled social mobility call for scholarly attention. This study aims to fill these gaps by addressing causal relations between social mobility, migrants’ class and status origins, their human, social and cultural capital and spatial mobility. In this project, I also examine macro-level hypotheses predicting that the EU and host states’ labor market institutions, changes in the EU policies on the highly skilled and the outburst of economic crisis matter for the Chinese highly skilled social and spatial mobility. Seizing on semi-structured interviews, I look at the social mobility of Chinese students that arrived to the United Kingdom and Spain. These states differ in the university tuition fees and in the period of Chinese students’ influx thus allowing to study an economically and socially diverse sample. My research will contribute to the literature on the relations between immigrants’ social mobility, class and status background and spatial mobility, at the same time adding a transnational level perspective to the study of highly skilled Asian migration.