A channels framework for the study of skilled international migration
Recent studies have identified a fundamental change in the character of much international migration. Skilled migrants have become a major component of most population flows and a majority in some cases. New forms of international labour migration and new historical and geographical contexts of international skill transfer, therefore require new frameworks for analysis. The main thrust of this research is to apply, extend and adapt a `migration channels' framework within the specific geographical context of Scotland's skilled international migration system. The concept of migration channels is founded on the observation that fewer and fewer international migrants themselves directly obtain jobs, work permits or residence visas. Increasingly, international skill transfers are regulated and manipulated by intermediary agencies. Identification and analysis of migration channels is therefore important since they play a key role in explaining firstly, which persons from the large pool of potential migrants are selected for migration, and, secondly, how a highly skilled international migration system is controlled and directed. A main aim of this research is to identify and understand the international migration processes operating in the Scottish context of skilled international migration. These processes are examined in relation to the differential selectivity and `control' each represents, with regard to the characteristics of the migrants involved with them, and the characteristics of their migration history. The importance of the concept of career and career advancement for explanation of skilled international migration is examined, in relation to respondents involved with each channel.