Holi 2013, Noordwijkerhout, the Netherlands

In both the Netherlands and India special government regulations have been formulated to promote highly skilled migration. India aims to attract investment of People of Indian Origin (PIO) or Non-resident Indians (NRI’s), whilst the Netherlands has opened its borders to highly skilled Indian workers. The result has been a significant increase in the number of highly- skilled migrants from India to the Netherlands over the past decade. In most cases they come for career related reasons, and are in the Netherlands for a certain amount of time, in order to move on to other destinations worldwide including back to India.

This two year project, initiated in 2012, was designed to look at the social and cultural influences these movements have on the migrants and those they are in contact with. In particular the focus lies on Indian highly skilled migrants living in the Netherlands and those migrants that are now living in India after having lived abroad.

The Dutch study concentrates on highly skilled Indian immigrants in the Netherlands, and examines how these Indian migrants develop notions of belonging and civic engagement. It also analyzes the role of policies, diaspora politics and overall migration experiences in this process.

Read more on the Dutch Case

The Indian study concentrates more on the role of professional and informal migrants and their networks, and socio-cultural contribution by the return-migrants in India. Together these two studies acknowledge that the two cases belong to a wider transnational social field (Levit and Glick-Schiller, 2004) and that ideas and practices travel within and across national boundaries.

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To be able to better understand the entire transnational field, we attempt to answer the following research questions:

How do highly-skilled Indian migrants in the Netherlands and return-migrants in India define notions of belonging and civic engagement; how are these notions influenced by their personal (gendered) migration experiences (during and after migration), and how are they mediated by government policies and practices, and diaspora politics?

Read more about the background, relevance and methodology of this research