4210 - Politics for high skilled migration vs. low skilled migration in North America

High skilled migration has always been privileged and even encouraged by international and national politics. At the same, international agreements for low skilled migration tend to restrict it. Human capital is considered valuable according to its education and working abilities, which puts undocumented migrants on a difficult economic position.

The NAFTA area is no exception to this situation: while the migration of professionals is privileged by such mechanisms as the TN and H1 visas, there is still no agreement to relieve the situation of unskilled immigration that cross the border from Mexico to the US and Canada in search for a better life. At the same time, migration between Canada and the US is much more free, even though professionals are also privileged; after NAFTA, Canada has even experienced brain drain to the US.

Some questions to be answered are: Is it just to privilege the mobility of certain individuals based on their qualifications? How about life style migration or migration that looks for a better personal development? Can human capital circulate in the same manner as material goods?

Method. This paper analyzes and compares the impact of NAFTA on policies for high vs. low skilled migration. It also uses ethnographic studies undertaken by the author in order to approach the view of migrants on how human capital should be managed at an international level.

Keywords: Skilled migration, North America, brain drain

Author: Tigau, Camelia (UNAM, Mexico / Mexiko)


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