Contextualising geographies of education-induced skilled migration: how mobile Malaysians end up in Singapore, London, and Kuala Lumpur

Sin Yee Koh

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


Migration literature has not considered international students as migrants proper until arguably the 2000s. Using the cases of mobile Malaysians (i.e. tertiary-educated Malaysian-born professionals who are transnationally mobile) in Singapore, London, and Kuala Lumpur, this chapter shows how their skilled migration geographies are inherently education-induced. This chapter further argues that Malaysia’s ethnic- and language-stratified education systems–a colonial legacy–play a significant role in initiating and circumscribing mobile Malaysians’ education-induced skilled migration geographies. This approach contributes towards a holistic and historically grounded conceptualisation of how international student migration (ISM) and skilled migration are intertwined. In addition to advocating for an expanded and integrated understanding of ISM and skilled migration, this chapter also highlights the need for migration scholarship to pay attention to the historical legacies of ethnic stratification and the domestic education system of sending societies.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Migration in Southeast Asia
Subtitle of host publicationContinuities and Discontinuities
EditorsKwen Fee Lian, Md Mizanur Rahman, Yabit Bin Alas
Place of PublicationHeidelberg Germany
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9789812877123
ISBN (Print)9788912877116
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameAsia in Transition
ISSN (Print)2364-8252
ISSN (Electronic)2364-8260


  • Education-induced migration
  • Ethnic stratification
  • Geographies of migration
  • Malaysia
  • Transnational skilled migration

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