What is it about?

This paper aims explores the experience of self-initiated expatriates (SIEs) moving from the global South to the global North. It considers the relationship between country of origin and host country, the role of non-traditional destinations and the choices made by SIEs. In-depth interviews were conducted with Indian SIEs and key experts to explore the motives, identities and life narratives of skilled expatriate Indians in France. The results shed light on how individuals’ careers are fashioned through the intersection of identities; highlighting the interplay between country of origin and the host country as a catalyst in SIEs’ choice of destination. Furthermore, the authors demonstrate a strategic form of agency exercised through these SIEs’ choice of an unconventional destination.

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Why is it important?

The intricate nature of SIE trajectories holds implications for migration theory, diaspora studies and career theory. SIEs from the Global South adopt varying strategies linked to specific host-country career offerings, often in sharp contrast with home-country opportunities. This study helps address research gaps in relation self-initiated expatriation from the Global South to the North. At the same time, it identifies the potential for transitional spaces and the relationship between countries, identity-formation factors and career agency. These findings on France as a transitional space – one of intermediacy and in-betweenness, where self-identity and future career projections can be re-imagined and reshaped – shed new light on how SIEs and their movements can be conceptualized. The results also inform managerial and policy-maker understandings of career motivations for mobile skilled workers moving for career and lifestyle. For countries seeking to attract talent, the findings demonstrate the roles of host-country immigration policy, country reputation and perceived career opportunities.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: A passage to France: skilled Indian SIEs in transition, Critical Perspectives on International Business, October 2017, Emerald,
DOI: 10.1108/cpoib-01-2017-0003.
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