Motivations and Constraints of Moving Abroad for Indian Students

M. Hercog, M. van de Laar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Faced with a situation in which countries compete for international students, it becomes especially important to understand students' preferences regarding migration behaviour. This paper looks at the determinants of international mobility intentions in the specific situation of Indian students in sciences and engineering. It uses the collected data from the survey held among students at five Indian universities and complements it with qualitative data from interviews. We looked at the role of students' personal and family background, university-related factors, their social network and preferences for living location in their motivations for moving abroad. The type of university and field of studies work as strong predictors for students' desired move abroad. Whether a student plans a career in academia or wants to work in a company has a decisive influence on where they see themselves in the near future. Professional aspects are confirmed to be the most prominent in the decision-making regarding international mobility. People who place high importance on work-related factors are more mobile, while people who place higher importance on family-friendly environment and public safety prefer staying in India. International student mobility is obviously a family decision. Parents' support is crucial for moving abroad, in moral as well as in financial terms. Normally, obligations towards family are put in the first place ahead of potential individual initiatives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)749-770
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of International Migration and Integration
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017

JEL classifications

  • o15 - "Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration"


  • Location choices
  • Pull factors
  • Higher education
  • Student migration
  • India


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