- Middling migration: contradictory mobility experiences of Indian youth in London
- Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
- Volume | Issue number
- 40 | 8
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
In this paper we examine the contradictory migration experiences of Indian youth who recently moved to Britain on a student or temporary work visa and discuss the perspectives of their middle-class families in Gujarat. Like many young people in developing countries, our informants dreamed of going to the West to earn money and improve their prospects at home but ended up in low-status, semi-skilled jobs to cover their expenses, living in small guesthouses crammed with newly arrived migrants. Why did these young people leave India and go to London and what do they get by moving abroad? Based on research in London and Gujarat, our findings show that the decision to migrate is shaped by a combination of individual and social motivations. These young people moved to London not only to earn money and gain new experiences but also to escape family pressures by living away from their parents. Their parents encourage them, though they are aware of the difficulties their children face in London. They regard the migration as a requisite precautionary strategy to maintain their status as middle-class families in India, thereby safeguarding the next generation's future prospects.
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