Why Do Highly Skilled People from Developing Countries Migrate to the UK?
The paper explores the rational decisions and the real motivations of highly skilled migrants who have immigrated to the UK since March 2003. Semi-structured interviews were completed with ten highly skilled migrants. Participants were asked to comment on the reasons and motivations for immigrating to the UK under the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP). The findings suggest that although most of these migrants held a senior position and were high earners in their home countries, they decided to immigrate to the UK for both so-called push and pull factors. Most participants expressed a unique view that they had no immediate financial interest in coming to the UK. The majority of those interviewed cited the lack of proper democracy, freedom, law and order in their previous countries of residence or birth countries as push factors instigating them to leave. On the other hand, the perceived existence of a healthy democracy and respect for individual rights and freedoms in the host country were amongst the main reasons (or, pull factors) for immigrating to the UK. In addition, the desire for a better future for family members, opportunities to travel freely around the world, living in a developed “first world” country to enjoy life with less pressure, as well as greater opportunities to develop professionally in chosen careers, were the most important factors that pulled highly-skilled migrants to the UK.
Keywords: Highly Skilled Migrants, Immigration Theories, Push and Pull Factors
Dr. Taghi Doostgharin
Lecturer in Social Work, Social Work Division