Mobility-migration nexus: policies, practices, discourses and evidence

Be it in research, practice or policymaking, migration is a subject of continuous fundamental debate, which cannot be rightly comprehended without a multidisciplinary approach. What is considered migration, who is a migrant and what type of migrant – the discourse is shaped on many levels, migration trajectories are rarely clear-cut, and evidence never conclusive, reflecting the unpredictability of human life path.

The interplay and the distinctions between migration and mobility are not easy to establish and the ‘grey zones’ in-between make the debate so complex as it is. And while the movement of people remains a constant throughout history, the types of movement and movers have, at least in Europe, shifted the old notions of migration, bringing forth academic and highly skilled migration as a high demographic and market requirement and, as such, a concern of governments, researchers and education and training providers.  

Recruiting, training and retaining global talent is a piece of the mobility-migration puzzle that has for long guided higher education actors in the attempt to understand mobility choices and that has led national policymakers to ensure better conditions for entry and stay of international academic population. While on the one hand, international graduates (i.e. highly skilled immigrants) often struggle to find work matching their qualifications, there has also been a movement of re-gaining ‘home’ talent from abroad with attractive incentives introduced by (national) governments.   

Mobility-migration nexus: policies, practices, discourses and evidence” - ACA’s next European Policy Seminar - will focus on this very intersection between international mobility and migration by looking into current policy-practice links and gaps, contemporary discourses and existing evidence on the two in the context of highly skilled migration, both voluntary and forced, particularly in light of Europe’s recent struggle to cope with the latter. 

This seminar aims to support HEIs in their endeavours in international cooperation by pinpointing current trends in international student and graduate movement in Europe and beyond. Not less so, it aims to inform policymakers and practitioners alike of ongoing and relevant research, to create space for the policy-practice-research ‘trialogue’, and to point to some effective practices that can serve as an example and inspiration to national-level actions and university initiatives. Another ambition of the seminar is to help tackle the prevailing pejorative discourses, which not only make the debate on migration a contentious one, but also defy the European commitment to solidarity and diversity.  

We strongly encourage relevant stakeholders at EU, national and institutional level to join us on 9 November 2018 in Brussels and provide their contribution to discussions, which will result in a report for policymakers and practitioners. The event will offer a highly interactive setting and an array of distinct perspectives and positions on the migration-mobility relationship.