Migrant descendants' intercultural competence and their recognition in the UK and Italian labour market (MIDIC)

Migrant descendants (i.e. the so-called second generations) represent an increasingly important share of the European workforce. Their belonging to multiple cultures could help them develop intercultural competence (IC), a vital asset in contemporary labour markets.

Intercultural competence of migrant descendants, however, have been under-researched in both migration and intercultural studies and should be better examined to maximise the resources available in multi-ethnic societies while improving migrant descendants work opportunities.

By comparing UK and Italy through qualitative research, MIDIC will explore migrant descendants’ perceptions of both their IC and its development. Additionally, it will explore employers’ and second generations’ attitude towards the use of migrant descendants’ IC in work organisations.

By doing this, MIDIC will shed some light on the features of migrant descendants’ IC and on factors hindering or fostering its development. It will also formulate recommendations on how to best unleash their potential in the labour market.

This interdisciplinary study combines contributions from migration literature and intercultural studies and intends to advance knowledge of migrant descendants’ integration and IC conceptualisation. Dissemination activities will raise awareness on how migrant descendants can contribute to society.

MIDIC is a Marie S. Curie research project financed by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 - Research and Innovation Framework Programme.

Aim of the research

The objectives of this research will be to:

  • Create a systematic overview of relevant literature on migration and IC, so as to foster dialogue between these research communities.
  • Develop conceptual and methodological tools for analysing migrant descendants’ IC, in order to foster future research on this topic.
  • Analyse how migrant descendants describe their IC and its development, so as to understand its features, limitations, and the contextual factors fostering or hindering its growth.
  • Evaluate the actual and possible application of migrant descendants’ IC to the labour market, by analysing migrant descendants’ and employers’ attitudes, in order to identify ways to enhance the potential of IC for work organisations.
  • Generate social change by disseminating findings on the economic and social potential of migrant descendants.

Members of the research team

Jenny Phillimore

Jenny Phillimore is Professor of Migration and Superdiversity. She is a world leading scholar in refugee integration, superdiversity and access to social welfare with a particular focus on public health, as well as publishing and development of the community research methodology.

Jenny Phillimore

Annavittoria Sarli

Dr Annavittoria Sarli specialises in migration and intercultural studies, and in qualitative research methods. Her research currently focuses on intercultural competence and second generations. Over the past years she has conducted research on the relation between migration and health, the migration and development nexus, migrant labour inclusion, recognition of migrants’ skills and qualifications, and the interaction between religion, migration and integration.

Annavittoria Sarli

Natasha Nicolls

Natasha Nicholls is a research assistant at the Institute for Research into Superdiversity (IRiS).

Natasha is also a doctoral researcher at the Institute for Research into Superdiversity (IRiS) at the University of Birmingham. Her doctoral research focuses on the UK Community Sponsorship Scheme and the role of the volunteers within the scheme.  

Natasha Nicholls

Outputs and impact

The study will allow for a better understanding of the impact that migrant descendants’ IC may have on European labour markets. Combining migration and intercultural studies, it will develop theoretical and methodological tools to foster research in this field. Through fieldwork, it will create a descriptive framework of migrant descendants’ IC, analyse how IC is developed, and formulate recommendations for promoting its recognition and adoption in the labour market.

The research outcomes will be disseminated through scientific publications, seminars, workshops and scientific conferences.

The words of the people we interviewed within the MIDIC project are important and could generate vital social change. Here you can find some extracts from the interviews we conducted with university students of migrant descent, that we are publishing on a monthly column:

Partner organisation


MIDIC is a Marie S. Curie research project financed by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 - Research and Innovation Framework Programme (GA 841716 and GA 874979).

Street scene in Italy

Contact us

Annavittoria Sarli 
Email: a.sarli@bham.ac.uk  
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