Migrant networks and the immigrant professional: An analysis of weak ties

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Weak ties, particularly those to potential employers, play a more important role than strong ties in the immigration of professionals to the United States. I operationalize network strength through the class of admission variable in the Immigration and Naturalization Service's public use data files, Immigrants Admitted to the United States, 1972-1992. I also examine the differential impact of legislative measures on the availability of strong versus weak ties for four groups of professionals: physicians, nurses, engineers and scientists. Not only do weak ties figure heavily on the immigration experiences of professionals, but those impacts affect women differently than men. Professional women rely more heavily on strong ties than on weak ties when compared with males in their respective professions, with the exception of nursing. These findings suggests a need for further study into the migration experiences of professionals as well as more research into how gendered networks develop among immigrant professionals and how those networks influence (either positively or negatively) immigrant adaptation to United States' society.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-31
Number of pages23
JournalPopulation Research and Policy Review
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Apr 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


  • Gender
  • Immigration
  • Legislation
  • Networks
  • Professionals


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