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Social skills, workplaces and social remittances: A case of post-accession migrants

This article examines how the social skills of migrants are moulded in workplaces and employment-related situations. It surveys literature on social skills, workplaces, social remittances and relational learning. It devotes attention to destination workplaces as spaces where people who left their comfort zones experience disjuncture between origin and destination. This can bring insights, noticing differences and making comparisons. On return to their workplaces in their origin countries, migrants are able to reflect upon and eventually remit these experiences, packaged as social remittances. Three categories of social skill were distilled from biographical interviews with returnees to Poland: (1) the capability for cross-cultural communication; (2) the capability for dealing with emotional labour; (3) the capability for taking initiative and acting independently. The study analysed situations of disjuncture as a result of migration which led to learning, non-learning and alienation. By bringing migration to the forefront, we consider social skills as social remittances.