Highly Skilled Migrants: Modifying Professional Identity to Align with New Country and Organisational Nuances

ethnic hierarchies transformation Jan 04, 2024


Managing complex work environments that span national boundaries is a common difficulty for professionals in today's globalised world. Regardless of qualifications, Highly Skilled Migrants (HSM)  often find themselves fighting to prove their capabilities. The capacity to adapt one's professional credentials to fit the standards of a new nation and organisation has grown in importance as a component of professional advancement in the context of moving or advancing one's career (Horak et al., 2019). The additional challenge of adapting one's skills, knowledge, and experience to the unique requirements of a global context and the organisation if an individual wants to progress to more senior roles (Opara, Sealy and Ryan, 2020).

Understanding Regulations Specific to the Host Country

Host Country-specific sets of laws and licencing criteria govern various occupations. Thorough research is required to understand the local legislation and ensure compliance when adapting professional qualifications to a foreign country (Devadason, 2017). In order to fulfil the requirements set by the host nation, it may be necessary to pursue further qualifications, retrain, or take examinations.

Acknowledging cultural nuances

Professionals need to know how cultural nuances affect the workplace in addition to following legislative requirements; this extends to laws around families, childcare and time out (Dyer, Xu and Sinha, 2018). Different countries may have different decision-making procedures, communication styles, and organisational structures. One must adapt to these cultural variations in order to collaborate effectively and achieve professional success. Professionals may need cultural intelligence and strong interpersonal skills to adapt to a new workplace, learning to fit in while standing out (Opara et al., 2023). There are many ways in which one can learn the cultural nuances; this may include making new friends with the native populations, volunteering to take on projects that could expose the newcomer to the inner circles, and even asking for training from the organisation.

Customising Proficiency to Align with Organisational Criteria

Not only do professionals need to familiarise themselves with the rules and customs of a foreign country, but they also need to make sure their skill sets match the specific requirements of the companies they work with. The norms, expectations, and operational procedures of any given company are unique. Acquiring specialist information or honing current skills to align with the company's objectives and industry standards may be required to conform professional certifications to an organisation's criteria.

Continuous Professional Development, Networking, and Mentorship

Investing time in updating professional credentials to meet new requirements can be one way to improve the chances of progression. Many highly skilled migrants pursue more qualifications to help them stay relevant in ever-changing work contexts; it is vital to sustain professional progress and continue education (Opara et al., 2023). A mindset of continual learning is strongly encouraged for professionals, who should seek out training, courses, and certifications to hone their skills and keep up with industry advancements. If you want to go forward in your career in your new place, you need to build a strong professional network. Through networking, one can get significant insights into industry practises, organisational expectations, and prospects (Martin and Barnard, 2013). Experienced professionals who have successfully updated their credentials to meet new standards can be a great resource for advice and guidance throughout the project.


The process of adjusting professional qualifications to align with the standards of a new country and organisation is complex and demands a proactive and adaptable strategy. Professionals who demonstrate a commitment to acquiring knowledge of local regulations, cultural subtleties, and organisational expectations are more likely to achieve professional success. Proactively pursuing mentorship, fostering robust professional networks, and embracing a commitment to ongoing education are fundamental approaches for effectively navigating the intricacies inherent in operating within diverse professional environments. Given the ongoing evolution of the global workforce, the capacity to adjust and flourish in diverse settings becomes an indispensable quality for professionals aiming to achieve long-term professional development.


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Opara, V., Sealy, R. and Ryan, M.K. (2020) ‘The workplace experiences of BAME professional women: Understanding experiences at the intersection’, Gender, Work and Organization, 27(6), pp. 1192–1213.








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