The attitudes, potentials, and limitations of highly-skilled migrants
With its high salaries and proximity to Europe, southern Norway will continue to attract highly-skilled migrants so it is vital to understand their skills and experiences.
Globalization and conflict have increased immigration to Norway in the past decade. This fall I worked as a research assistant to explore the attitudes, potentials, and limitations of highly-skilled migrants in the southern Norwegian labor force. The study is a cooperation between NORCE and UiA, where I am currently a graduate student in global development. Broadly, my goal was to find migrants through snowball sampling and learn more about their work and immigration situations through interviews.
Before I could start conducting interviews, it was important to define who would be included in the study. Creating a taxonomy helped us to establish this. First, we created four super-categories to reflect an individual’s education level. We then created sub-categories to record the legal mechanism that permits an individual to stay and work in Norway. We also made distinctions regarding whether people came through EU agreements or not. We decided not to include asylum seekers waiting for a response in their case, migrants from other Nordic countries, or unregistered migrants.
After agreeing on a set of questions and conducting dozens of interviews, I have found that, for many, finding a job in their profession appears to be a challenge. What elements contribute to the difficulty, and why do certain migrants end up switching fields? The study will examine the interplay among the various groups of highly-skilled migrants. Thus far, it covers a wide spectrum of not only education levels but also economic and cultural backgrounds, yet it appears many are competing for the same jobs, particularly in rural areas.
Compared to many other countries, Norway still maintains a rather decentralized structure, making rural areas, such as the one in this study, desirable places to live, despite worldwide trends to move to urban areas to earn money (Eriksen 1993). With its high salaries and proximity to Europe, southern Norway will continue to attract highly-skilled migrants so it is vital to understand their skills and experiences.
Eriksen, T.H. (1993). Being Norwegian in a shrinking world. In A. Cohen Kiel (Ed.), Continuity and Change: Aspects of modern Norway. Oslo: Scandinavian University Press. Retrieved from http://hyllanderiksen.net/Norwegian.html