A Life Course Approach to High-skilled Migration: Lived Experiences of Indians in the Netherlands

Anu Kõu, Leo van Wissen, Jouke van Dijk, Ajay Bailey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


This article presents a framework which applies life course approach to high-skilled migration. By using the lens of the life course, migration behaviour is viewed not only in response to labour market triggers, but also in relation to other life domains such as education, employment and household. The data presented in this article are drawn from 22 in-depth interviews and visualisations of parallel careers. The results illustrate how highly skilled Indian migrants in the Netherlands shape their life course and highlight the parallel careers that structure their migration trajectories. Parents, spouse and social networks inform the life course decisions of these migrants through the linked lives mechanism to a large extent. Our findings challenge the notion of ‘trailing wives’ and suggest that, despite of gender differences in the life course patterns, the joining spouses play an active role in the family migration decisions of the highly skilled. Life course approach enables us to understand the migration process through the lives of the highly skilled and reveals how—the often culturally conditioned—life course interdependencies frame their migration decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1644-1663
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 01-01-2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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