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Returned migrants acquisition of competences: the contingencies of space and time

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journal contribution
posted on 09.03.2021, 10:43 by H Janta, C Jephcote, AM Williams, G Li
The conditions which determine the acquisition of skills by migrants are still poorly understood. This paper addresses two of those conditions: the temporality of the acquisition of competences, whether the number and duration of migrations matter, as well as the spatiality, or the variation across countries of origin and return. Based on a large-scale online panel survey of returned young migrants in nine European countries, the significance of time (duration) and space (number of migrations) in the acquisition of skills and competences are examined. The findings reveal that young European returnees’ experiences gained abroad result in largely positive outcomes but with significant differences between formal qualifications, language skills and personal and cultural competences. However, their acquisition of skills and competences is mediated by temporality–the combination of number of trips, and duration of migration. Spatiality is also important, with outcomes depending on the destination countries, and whether migration and return are from or to rural versus urban areas. These indicate that structural considerations continue to shape individual migration experiences within the EU's freedom of movement space.


This work was supported by the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme; Project ‘YMOBILITY’, Grant/Award number: 649491.


Author affiliation

Centre for Environmental Health and Sustainability, University of Leicester


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies


Special Issue: Human Capital


Informa UK Limited





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