On January 17th, 2018, Professor from the Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies, Waseda University hosted the International Workshop “Skilled Labor Mobility: Japan and Beyond”. A total of 12 researchers in international and labor migration studies from the various parts of the globe participated in the workshop.
This workshop was divided into three sessions: Migration Infrastructure for Skilled Labor Mobility; Skills in Migration Across Asia; and the Meaning of Mobilities. In the first section, speakers discussed the shaping of transnational labor market and the migration regime related to skilled labor mobility. In the second section, researchers presented case studies of skilled mobility in different national contexts. The third section engaged the issues such as multiple mobility and reasons for settlement. The speakers shared their empirical findings and discussed conceptual issues in skilled migration.
One topic that attracted attention is the attractiveness of Japan toward skilled migrants. Daisuke Wakisaka (University of Bristol/ Keidanren) described how European and Americans outside Japan see Japan as a “crazy” place. Nana Oishi (University of Melbourne) presented the “exodus” of Japanese professionals from Japan. Meanwhile, Liu-Farrer argued that there was a difference between career mobility and geographic mobility and Japan, as a destination, remained attractive to many migrants.
Skilled migration in other areas were also brought into the discussion. James Farrer (Sophia University) highlighted a transnational skilled labor migration in culinary field. Yen-fen Tseng (National Taiwan University) compared Taiwanese professionals in different global cities in East Asia. Suzanne Naafs covered the relationship between local Indonesian laborers and Korean employers in her presentation.
Adrian Favell (University of Leeds) led the round-table discussion. As an expert on EU migration, he compared the migration challenges in EU and raised the questions about the characteristics and the future of skilled migration in Asia.
Around 40 people from both Waseda and elsewhere attended the workshop and the reception that follows. Participants all expressed great appreciation for this opportunity of learning and discussion. Several scholars who knew each other before had a small reunion at Waseda. This workshop has further established Waseda’s role as a node in global migration research network.