Migrant Preparatory Training

– and the Shaping Circular Migration between Ethiopia and the Gulf States. A research project within the research program migration and integration.

Project leader: Johan Lindquist External link.

Period: 2020-2022

Seat of learning: Stockholm University

Project title: Migrant Preparatory Training and the Shaping Circular Migration between Ethiopia and the Gulf States


What is the project about?

This project deals with a critical dimension of the intensification and deepening of circular migration, namely the expansion of what we term “migrant preparatory training,” vocational education in the deployment of low-skilled documented international labor migrants from sending to receiving countries.

Government-regulated training is part of an expanding migration infrastructure that prepares migrants for work abroad, while aiming to shape their aspirations and channel them into specific labor sectors in destination countries. Importantly, these training programs are becoming formalized through policy transfers from mature sending countries, most notably the Philippines, to countries such as Ethiopia, which is currently developing the most ambitious labor deployment program on the African continent.

This project takes the circulation and implementation of these training programs as an empirical entry-point for understanding how the recruitment, preparation, deployment and channeling of documented low-skilled labor migration is evolving through increasingly sophisticated means. This is of great relevance for understanding the future of labor migration across world, not least to Europe.

Research questions

  1. How is migrant preparatory training for low-skilled migrants packaged by government officials and consultants from the Philippines and shaped through policy transfers to Ethiopia?
  2. Given the importance of the above policy transfer, how is migrant preparatory training organized through vocational colleges in Ethiopia, and how does it come to shape prospective migrants and the migration process?
  3. What is the significance of the rise of migrant preparatory training for understanding the evolution of temporary low-skilled migration in Ethiopia, and on a comparative and global level?

Methodologically, interviews will be conducted with relevant consultants and officials in the Philippines and Ethiopia, as well as with the key actors involved in developing vocational programs. The main focus of the project will be on ethnographic fieldwork in several vocational schools in Ethiopia. Interviews will be conducted with migrants, recruitment agents, and employers in select destination countries.

Project participants

  • Department of Social Anthropology at Stockholm University.
  • Department of Social Anthropology at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia.

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