Between talent and migrant: international students’ status transition to foreign workers in Denmark

Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesisResearch

Ana Mosneaga

International student migration is increasingly treated as a sub-class of global talent mobility by states, regions and cities competing in the globalising knowledge economy, where a highly educated workforce is seen as a prerequisite for sustaining growth. This is leading to mobilisation of states’ agendas for internationalisation of higher education and talent attraction to boost national competitiveness. Concurrently, convergence is happening between migration management regimes, albeit with persistent variations in actual regulations, when it comes to attracting skilled migrants, while reducing the in-flow of ‘unwanted’ migrants. In this context, international students’ status transition to foreign workers is influenced by their simultaneous position as talents and as migrants.
This PhD project analyses how the goal of attracting skilled labour is met through international student recruitment by examining the management of the status transition of international students’ into foreign workers in the host country context. It takes its point of departure in understanding international student migration as a phenomenon evolving in the cross field between the global competition for talent, the globalisation of higher education and national practices of migration management. The research draws on the example of Denmark, which represents a host country still developing its national position in the wider European and international policy landscapes. In doing so, it focuses on foreign postgraduate students in the fields of science and technology, who are seen as a particularly skilled cohort of international students. The study adopts intensive qualitative research design that enables to explore the relationship between policy and practice of international student migration from the perspective of the host country stakeholders and individual migrants.
Through this approach, the thesis contributes to the field of migration and mobility studies by providing more nuanced insights into the interaction between declared policy goals and their effects in practice, as well as into the central causes that create discrepancies between them. The conclusion highlights the tensions inherent in promoting talent attraction and internationalisation vis-à-vis migration management, and draws overall policy implications through the case of the management of international student migration in Denmark.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherDepartment of Geography and Geology, University of Copenhagen
Number of pages204
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2012

ID: 40716754