Social Ties and Networking - The Case of Highly Skilled Eastern European Migrants in Sweden

Primary investigator: Doctor Greti-Iulia Ivana (Uppsala University)

Funding: Uppsala University, Department of Sociology

Project description: The global competition for attracting and retaining international skilled professionals has become one of the important features of contemporary capitalism. The so called “war for talent” has come together with an increased demand for mobility and with the expansion of skilled migration, from an exclusive transnational elite towards professionals in mid-level careers making their livelihood outside their country of origin. In Sweden, besides keeping up with the exigencies of a globalizing labor market, the attraction and retention of foreign talent is also motivated by shortages in particular skilled professions (like medical doctors and IT engineers) and by the reduction of the active population as a result of aging. However, the migration of the highly skilled is typically short- term, experimental and either serial (moving from one country to another) or circular (migrating and returning).

In this context, the current project sets out to explore the incentives and constraints fueling temporary and repeated intraeuropean migration. More specifically, it looks at the under researched case of highly skilled work-motivated migrants coming to Sweden from several Eastern European countries (EU member states), and it does so by analyzing the migrants' subjective accounts of their mobility. Narratives about both economic and non-economic considerations within the highly skilled migrant experience are analyzed in depth.

Key words: brain drain, skilled migration, work, Eastern Europe, serial and circular migration.