Starting the new year with the publication of an article co-authored with colleague and friend Miłka Korzeniewska in Migration Studies. We examine the issue of how human capital is put to use (or not) in the case of migrating nurses.
While ‘deskilling’ of migrants is a well-known issue and problem, we make a case for carefully unpacking what this means, especially to nurses themselves. In our comparative analysis, based on interviews with Filipino and Polish nurses in Norway, we do find ‘deskilling’ as less than productive use of nurses’ professional competence, we also find challenges related to authorization of non-EU degrees, and to race and being ‘foreign’.
However, we also find a dynamic potential for reskilling and upskilling, next to deskilling, with scope for nurses own agency. Here, seeing and acknowledging their professional identities as nurses was key.
For, whereas identity is all over the study of migration, in relation to the study of work and migration, there is scope for more analysis of the roles of the (dynamic) professional identities of those who migrate. This matters both for how labour markets can better benefit from migrants competence, and through this also for migrant well-being.
The article draws on the WELLMIG project (Migration for welfare) and has benefited from great exchanges in the project team, throughout the research process. Open access here.