Call for papers: Skilled Migration conference

Unravelling the Talent Tale: Skilled Migration Policies between National Images, Membership Bonds and Economic Priorities

Faculty of Social Sciences Migration Research Group and Sheffield Centre for International and European Law, Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Proposals for papers from legal, political, sociological perspectives are encouraged. Paper proposals not exceeding 500 words in length and a one paragraph bio should be emailed by 30th April 2015 to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Conference theme

While dominant contemporary narratives on migration and immigration seem to revolve around borders control, illegal immigration, and the problems of asylum seekers, an alternative narrative is emerging with increasing force. The latter narrative focuses on desirable migrants, such as experienced professionals, talented entrepreneurs and qualified investors. Attracting the latter categories of immigrants has become a priority in the immigration policies of several states in Europe and beyond. While skilled migration policies have been often looked at from economics perspectives to assess the relative merits of sending countries’ ‘brain drain’ risks, and recipient countries’ ‘brain gain’ opportunities, their implications for legal, political, and sociological questions of membership and community have been under-studied.

This one-day interdisciplinary conference, jointly sponsored by the Sheffield Faculty of Social Sciences Migration Research Group and the Sheffield Centre for International and European Law, proposes to address this gap. The aim is bringing together scholars, practitioners and institutional actors involved with the development and practice of skilled migration policies to consider a range of questions targeting the interrelation between attracting skilled migrants and redefining community boundaries and membership bonds. Relevant questions include: which concepts of talent underpin skilled migration policies and what kind of stake in the community do these concepts relate to? How do skilled migration policies alter existing paradigms for community closure and the nature of the ‘genuine links’ among community members? How do the claims to admission of skilled migrants relate to those of ‘standard’ migrants? How do these policies relate to narratives of sovereignty and nationalism?

Professor Peter J. Spiro, Charles R. Weiner Professor of Law at Temple University Beasley School of Law, will deliver a keynote speech.

Proposals for papers addressing the above questions from legal, political, sociological perspectives are encouraged. We are particularly interested in papers that offer any of the following:

– empirical accounts illustrating the identity and immigration stories of individual skilled migrants;

– theoretical frames to address investor/start-up visa schemes or empirical accounts of the same;

– empirical accounts of preferences and intents of involved governmental actors; or

– theoretical frames exploring and linking notions of talent with notions of community and membership.

The best papers presented at the conference will be considered for submission for a special journal issue.

The conference will take place at the Sheffield University School of Law. Participants will be responsible for their travel and accommodation expenses. For any question, please email Dr. Francesca Strumia, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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