Micheline van Riemsdijk

Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor at Department of Social and Economic Geography

+4618-471 2543
Visiting address:
Ekonomikum, Kyrkogårdsgatan 10

Postal address:
Box 513
751 20 UPPSALA

Short presentation

My research agenda is broadly defined by questions of belonging and exclusion and barriers to the free movement of migrants. Dr. Marion Panizzon (University of Bern) and I are guest editors for a special issue on multilevel governance in international migration for the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. Together with Dr. Qingfang Wang (University of California Riverside) I edited a book on Rethinking International Skilled Migration (Routledge 2017). More information on my research website.

Keywords: governance qualitative methods belonging international migration skilled migration skill recognition

Also available at

My courses


CV | Research website

My research agenda is broadly defined by questions of highly skilled migration and the governance of international migration. My research has been published in, among others, Environment and Planning A; Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies; Population, Space and Place; and Social and Cultural Geography. I also edited Rethinking International Skilled Migration (with Qingfang Wang, Routledge 2017).

I am currently working on the following research projects:

Social integration of highly skilled refugees in Sweden (2019-2022, funded by Forte)

The social integration of refugees is an important agenda item in Europe, including Sweden. The recent refugee “crisis” has renewed attention to the need for effective integration initiatives that help create an inclusive, cohesive and prosperous society. Employment is a key factor in the integration process, enabling refugees to participate in the host country’s cultural and social life. This project focuses on highly skilled refugees who possess skills that are in high demand, but who face considerable obstacles in finding employment commensurate with their education and skills. The project studies refugees who participate in “fast-track” programs that provide mentoring, upskilling and work experience. The purpose of the project is to examine the social integration of highly skilled refugees in the workplace, a key site of transmission and negotiation of norms and values of the receiving country. It focuses on the workplace experiences of highly skilled refugees and their employers, and the national and local-level policies and initiatives that govern the integration process. These issues will be investigated using interviews, observations, job shadowing, critical discourse analysis and document analysis. Theoretically, the project adds a refugee perspective to literatures on highly skilled migration and diversity management, and brings a skills lens to scholarship on social integration. The research will produce evidence-based recommendations for creating conditions for sustainable labor force participation (Forte theme 1), and how to increase the inclusion of under-represented groups in the labor market, focusing on the workplace and the role of employers (Forte theme 2).The findings will be relevant to employers and policymakers concerned with workplace equality, diversity and inclusion. More information about the project can be found here (in Swedish).

Global governance of migration

I am the lead editor for two special issues on international migration. Together with Marianne Marchand (Universidad de las Américas Puebla) and Volker Heins (University of Duisburg-Essen) I am editing an issue on New actors and architectures in global migration governance, to be published in Third World Quarterly. I am also collaborating with Linn Axelsson (Stockholm University) on a special issue on the labor market integration of highly skilled refugees in Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands. This issue will be published in International Migration.

Previous research

Marion Panizzon (University of Bern) and I served as guest editors for a special issue on multilevel governance in international migration for the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. Free copies are available here.

I edited a book on Rethinking International Skilled Migration (Routledge 2017, with Qingfang Wang). It engages with the following questions: How have international skilled migratory flows been formed, sustained, and transformed over multiple spaces and scales? How have these processes affected cities and regions? And how have multiple stakeholders responded to these processes? The contributors to this book bring together perspectives from economic, social, urban, and population geography in order to address these questions from a myriad of angles. Empirical case studies from different regions illuminate the multiscaled processes of international skilled migration. In particular, the contributions rethink skilled migration theories and provide insights into: the experiences of highly skilled labor migrants and international students; issues related to transnational activities and return migration; and policy implications for both immigrant source and destination countries. It also charts a future research agenda for international skilled migration research.

I previously led a project on the governance of international skilled migration and the involvement of stakeholders in migration policymaking. The project investigated the experiences of foreign-born engineers and information technology specialists in Oslo, Stavanger, and Kongsberg, and the socio-spatial strategies of stakeholders to influence migration policies at local, regional, and national scales. This research was funded by the National Science Foundation (Award #1155339, 160,000).

I also conducted research on the place-making strategies of foreign-born nurses and IT specialists in Oslo, talent acquisition in IT companies in Bangalore, India, the politics surrounding the European Blue Card, and the transfer of professional qualifications in the European Union. Prospective students are encouraged to contact me at micheline.vanriemsdijk@kultgeog.uu.se


Please contact the directory administrator for the organization (department or similar) to correct possible errors in the information.