In episode 11 of Free People Move, we took a trip to the wonderfully Harry Potter-esque King’s College in Cambridge to have a chat with Ave Lauren – a PhD student specializing on economic geography.

Ave visited the Teleport office in September to tell us about her research, and it was so interesting we could not resist sharing her knowledge with our listeners as well. In her research, Ave has been mostly focusing on highly skilled migration in Silicon Valley - more specifically the Chinese communities, looking into the ways that mobile professionals construct their identities, form communities and engage with power structures.

When it comes to studying highly skilled migrants, there aren’t many existing datasets to study – therefore, the only way was to go to the field and talk to them and their companies directly. Ave talks in more detail about why she chose that specific target group and location, and what her research entailed.

We talk about migrant detachment and the reasons behind why detachment in general is becoming more encouraged, why companies are trying to become increasingly more global and how those processes shape the hiring process and expectations for migrants’ qualifications and competencies.

Also in discussion is the current US immigration policy and what kind of implications it might have on sociopolitical integration of immigrants. We also dive into the topic of flexibility that comes with being globally detached, the level of its availability depending on who’s migrating and how we can help with making vital information about migration more readily available for everyone.

Ave has repeatedly stated in her work that a lot of new migrants tend to work in big tech – why? How and why does working in Silicon Valley and big tech companies create a certain kind of convenience for highly skilled immigrants, and how can that convenience be dangerous? What are the consequences of the role of the state becoming less relevant in immigrants’ lives? Give the podcast a listen and find out!

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