The recruitment of skilled migrants is increasing in many countries (Forde & MacKenzie, 2009; Moriarty, Wickham, Kings, Salamonska & Bobek, 2012). Migrants are attractive employees in many countries because they increase the recruiting country’s pool of highly trained workers, bring new skills and often reduce cost (Moriarty et al., 2012). Sidani and Al Arriss (2014) found that although companies in the Arab Gulf region were willing to hire foreign nationals if they arrived with the training and skills to make an immediate contribution, they were more willing to spend time and money developing local talent.
Due to the low birth rates and ageing populations of most economically developed countries, recruiting younger migrant workers helps to maintain the number of working- age adults necessary to support the growing pool of retired elderly (Ziguras & Law, 2006). However, research shows college graduates are becoming more reluctant to move and that quality of life and lifestyle issues can be more important than gaining international experience (Sparrow, 1999; Scullion, 1994). Work by Almeida and colleagues suggests that migrants to a new country may also face challenges in being recruited by organizations even though the organizations may be seeking people with their specific skills (Almeida, Fernando & Sheridan, 2012). Research has begun to study the simultaneous pressure to address both organizational goals to place talent internationally and individual, self-initiated expatriation goals and address how these goals might be balanced to the benefit of both parties (Farndale, Pai, Sparrow & Scullion, 2014).
Chaloff and Lemaitre (2009) discuss the importance of engaging in active recruitment for skilled migrants rather than merely facilitating work permits for immigrant applicants. Although highly skilled migrants may find countries with widely spoken languages and high wages attractive regardless of the employment obstacles that may exist, a country with lower wages and a unique language will need to do more than just lower administrative barriers to recruit and attract skilled migrants (Chaloff & Lemaitre, 2009). What makes different locations and employment opportunities more or less attractive to different types of skilled migrants is not yet well understood.