“My dream is to be a doctor. This was my dream since I was a child. I wanted to start studying medicine immediately, but it was very hard. Unfortunately, the long break [over the course of migration] from studying had a lot of influence on my knowledge in math, physics and chemistry”.
In recent years, attracting and retaining talent and highly skilled migrants from third countries has become an increasingly relevant priority for the European Union. Two weeks ago, the European Commission reiterated its commitment to this objective by proposing a set of initiatives within the new ‘Skills and Talent package’. This proposal aspires to solve the issue of labour shortages in the EU. It also represents a key deliverable of the ongoing European Year of Skills. At the same time, preventing irregular migration remains another core pillar of the EU’s migration policy. Irregular migrants are often framed as undesirable, if not as a threat to their host societies. Or they are represented through the lenses of vulnerability. Both representations render their skills and labour market potential invisible.
However, are irregular migrants by definition low-skilled and undesirable or vulnerable people in need of support and training in Europe?
There is a critical disjuncture between assumptions around skills and categories of migration, which, recent studies have challenged. An illuminating paper co-authored by BIRMM researchers Damini Purkayastha, Tuba Bircan, Ahmad Wali Ahmad Yar and Duha Ceylan (She/Her) examines how the skilled migration discourse remains blind to the skills and potential of migrants coming through other channels - including those who arrive irregularly. Their research unpacks how rigid and simplistic categorisations of migration are politically and legally constructed. Inequalities and racial hierarchies can persist while policymakers systematically separate irregular migrants from the notion of skill and ignore that education can drive irregular migration.
Would you like to learn more about this study? Find out more at: https://lnkd.in/eiWMs5vv