Coping with Deskilling: Strategies of Migrant Women Across European Societies

  • Anna Vouyioukas
  • Maria Liapi
Part of the International Perspectives on Migration book series (IPMI, volume 4)


The focus of this chapter is language, qualifications and skills across European countries and the strategies that migrant women use to overcome policy gaps, insufficiencies and barriers as well as blocked social mobility. The chapter investigates the role played by qualifications and language competencies as a resource for “integration”, both in the context of control-oriented migration policies and of labour market integration policies. A comparative analysis addresses policies for language acquisition in the framework of broader integration and control policies. It critically evaluates, using a gender-sensitive perspective, the infrastructures for the recognition of certificates and for language acquisition in European societies. It also analyses the strategies of new female migrants for overcoming the limitations set by socio-economic contexts and specific policies across national contexts in particular in relation to reskilling opportunities. This is also examined against the background of welfare systems, civil society structures and migration policy traditions. Examples include employing creative strategies of language self-learning, acquiring skills in terms of the self-professionalisation of care work, actively acquiring new competencies and creating paths to paid work. The role played by other actors, such as employers, co-ethnics and NGOs, in helping migrant women to access learning structures, vocational training, reskilling and language courses are also explored.


Labour Market Host Country Asylum Seeker Domestic Work Migrant Woman 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Anthias, F. (2). Social stratification and social inequality: Models of intersectionality and identity. In R. Crompton, F. Devine, G. Scott, & M. Savage (Eds.), Rethinking class: Cultures, identities, lifestyle (pp. 24–45). London/Basingstoke: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  2. Anthias, F., Cederberg, M., & Raluca Torre, A., (2006). Mapping of policies and policy analysis: The UK case (Working Paper Nr. 2 – WP1), FeMiPol Project. Accessed 12 June 2011.
  3. Anthias, F., Cederberg, M., Barber, T., & Ayres, R. (2008). The biographical narrative interviews with female migrants: The UK case report WP 6, FeMiPol Project.Google Scholar
  4. Cederberg, M., & Anthias, F. (2008). The biographical narrative interviews with female migrants: The Swedish case (Report WP 6), FeMiPol Project.Google Scholar
  5. ENIC-NARIC.Net. (2011). Gateway to recognition of academic and professional qualifications. Accessed 6 Oct 2011.
  6. European Commission. (2008). Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2008 on the establishment of the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning. [Official Journal C 111, 6.5.2008]. Accessed 6 Oct 2011.
  7. European Communities. (2007). Handbook on integration for policy-makers and practitioners. Written by J. Niessen, & Y. Schibel of MPG on behalf of the European Commission (Directorate General for Justice, Freedom and Security) Accessed 15 Oct 2011.
  8. Goodman, S. W. (2010). Integration requirements for integration’s sake? Identifying, categorising and comparing civic integration policies. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 36(5), 753–772.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Kontos, M., & Sacaliuc, A. V. (2008). New female migrants: Biographical processes, integration strategies and social policies: The German case (Report WP 6), FeMiPol Project.Google Scholar
  10. Kontos, M., & Voswinkel, S. (2010). Ungenutzte Kompetenzen – Verbesserung der Arbeitsmarkt-integration von hochqualifizierten Migrantinnen und Migranten. Eine Machbarkeitsstudie. Frankfurt a. M.: Institut für Sozialforschung Frankfurt/Berami e.V.Google Scholar
  11. Kostakopoulou, D. (2010). Matters of control: Integration tests, naturalisation reform and probationary citizenship in the United Kingdom. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 36(5), 829–846.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Krzystek, K. (2007). Integration of female immigrants into labour market and society. Biographical policy evaluation. The Polish case (Report WP 6), FeMiPol Project.Google Scholar
  13. Liapi, M. (2008). Integration strategies of female migrants. The case of Greece (Report WP 6), FeMiPol Project.Google Scholar
  14. Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX). (2007). Key findings for labour market access, family reunion, long-term residence, access to nationality and country profiles. Accessed 3 Oct 2011.
  15. Morokvasic, M., & Catarino, C. (2006). Mapping of policies affecting female migrants and policy analysis: The French case (Working Paper Nr. 4 – WP 1), FeMiPol Project. Accessed 6 Oct 2011.
  16. Morokvasic, M., & Catarino, C. (2008). Biographical interviews with female migrants: The French case (Report WP 6), FeMiPol Project.Google Scholar
  17. UNESCO. (1997). Convention on the recognition of qualifications concerning higher education in the European Region. Lisbon. Accessed 6 Oct 2011.
  18. Zavos, A. (2010). Performative acts of citizenship and the challenges of gender and migration: Postcolonial and intersectional perspectives. Master class at Ohrid Summer University 2010: Gender Studies of and for the Region of the Balkans. Department of Gender Studies, Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities Research “Euro-Balkan”.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Research on Women’s Issues - DiotimaAthens - SyntagmaGreece

Personalised recommendations