Research Program: Migration & Informal Human Capital

This research program is about informal human capital impacted by experiences of working and living abroad. It shows that despite the fact that many international migrants work in the destination countries below their formal, usually high educational attainments, as in the cases of migrants from the New EU countries (c.f. Voitchovsky 2014; Kaczmarczyk and Tyrowicz 2015) or, they are formally not well educated but have many practical, non-validated skills like in the case of Mexican migrants (cf. Hagan at al. 2015), they can acquire and enhance informal human capital (Williams and Baláž 2005; Hagan at al. 2015; Grabowska & Jastrzebowska 2019 forthcoming) in the form of human capacities. I assume in this book that people might be overeducated or undereducated but they are never overskilled. It means that there is always a space to enhance human capital. Therefore, migration is not only about gaining economic capital. It is a social process through which migrants acquire, enhance and transfer informal human capital across not only locations but also across the life course (life-long learning) and across various domains of life (life-wide learning).

In this research program, formal human capital relates to all certified and formalized aspects of  educational attainment, years of schooling, certified qualifications, work experience relating to formal job positions and job descriptions. It includes also health condition. While informal human capital relates to non-certified human capacities which concern being and acting in social world and are captured at three dimensions: cognitive, intrapersonal and interpersonal in relation to well-being (life and job satisfaction and job-person fit).


Book projects:

JUST PUBLISHED! Grabowska I., Jastrzebowska A. (2022). Migration and the Transfer of Informal Human Capital: Insights from Central Europe and Mexico. Oxfordshire: Routledge.

Polish: Grabowska I. (2019). Otwierajac glowy. Migracje i kompetencje spoleczne. [Opening up the minds. Migration and social skills]. Warsaw: Scholar.


Grabowska I., Jastrzebowska A. (in press). Migratory Informal Human Capital of Returnees to Central Europe: A New Resource for Organisations. Central European Management Journal.

Grabowska I.,Jastrzębowska A., (in press, 2022). Mobile transitions to adulthood and soft skills of Polish and Lithuanian return migrants. Rocznik Lubuski 48(1) (Anniversary Volume for Prof. Maria Zielinska).

Grabowska I., Jastrzebowska A. (2019). The Impact of Migration on Human Capacities of Two Generations of Poles: The Interplay of the Individual and the Social in Human Capital Approaches, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 10.1080/1369183X.2019.1679414 (open access).

Grabowska I. (2018). Social skills, workplaces and social remittances: A case of post-accession migrants. Work, Employment and Society, 32(5): 868-886.

Grabowska I. (2016). The Transition from Education to Employment Abroad: The Experiences of Young People from PolandEurope-Asia Studies, 68(8), 1421-1440.

Grabowska I., Jazwinska E. (2015). Migracje poakcesyjne Polaków i kapital ludzki: transfer wiedzy, umiejętności, kompetencjiStudia Migracyjne-Przegląd Polonijny, 2(156), 53–80.

Grabowska-Lusińska I. Jaźwińska E., (2014). Transfer jawnych i ukrytych komponentów kapitału ludzkiego poprzez migracje. [In:] Lesińska M., Slany K., Solga B., Okólski M. (eds.) Dekada członkostwa Polski w UE. Społeczne skutki emigracji Polaków po 2004 roku, KBnM PAN; Warszawa: Wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego, 169-190.

SOCIAL IMPACT – media campaign in Polish media by PROSCIENCE February 2022 entitled: Polki i Polacy wracają z migracji. Rynek pracy ich nie widzi see