Skilled Migration in Global Cities from ‘Other’ Perspectives: British Arabs, Identity Politics, and Local Embeddedness

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Migration scholars increasingly have turned their attention to skilled migration, focusing, in particular, on the transfer of professionals within and between transnational corporations. Recent efforts have been made to bring a ‘cultural' analysis to this phenomenon, including greater scrutiny of the corporate cultures and social networks in which skilled migrants are embedded. This research has emphasised the importance of locality even among these most footloose and transnational of migrants. But despite these complex views of skilled migration, analyses have generated a somewhat limited conception of ‘skilled migrants' as managerial elites disengaged from local life. This paper examines skilled migration from a different perspective. First, using the case of Arab immigrants in London, this paper highlights the complicated nature of migration trajectories and reveals the diversity of patterns and experiences within the category of skilled migrant. Second, focusing on responses from female study participants, this paper examines the ways in which skilled migrants, rather than disengaging themselves from the host society context, may participate in the local politics of multiculturalism and integration.

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