PhD (VTT), researcher Ahmad Akhlaq

145000 €

Highly Skilled Immigrants in the IT Sector in Finland: Do Different Migration Trajectories Lead to Different Modes of Integration?

Tieteellinen tutkimus / siihen pohjautuva työ | Nelivuotinen

The proposed study aims to examine high-skilled immigrants’ settling-in processes and their opportunities to integrate into Finnish society. It explores if distinct migration trajectories for high-skilled immigrants also lead to different paths and modes of integration than those typically exhibited by more ‘traditional’ immigrants. More specifically, it investigates whether skilled professionals’ incorporation into local communities is as smooth a process free of exclusion as sometimes claimed in earlier research, where they are perceived as having transnational lives embedded in de-territorialized global space of flows, who adapt easily to new locations and feel at home anywhere and everywhere. It explores to what extent the fact of being in a privileged occupational status mitigates disadvantages associated with such markers of differentiation as skin colour, culture and religion. It also explores high-skilled immigrants’ experiences of being categorized and perceived as particular types of immigrants, and the relevance of these experiences to their social lives and their self-defined group identities. It further investigates what opportunities and challenges do even the most high-skilled face in negotiating processes of integration into Finnish society. The study especially problematises the ‘all-encompassing’ concept of integration. It argues that if most high-skilled immigrants are not integrated into urban society as a whole, but into their own ethnic community or their professional work environment, should then partial or segmented integration also be recognised as a ‘good solution’, if this is the kind of integration that is mostly sought by the high-skilled immigrants and that from their perspective leads to a more satisfactory state for the time of their being in Finland. The data consists of 35 qualitative interviews with highly skilled IT professionals of Pakistani origin working in Finland. The study will be completed from 1.3.2021–28.2.2024.