Dr. Elsa Oommen
Migration | Gender | Law


I am an independent consultant in the field of migration, diaspora and border studies. I have held honorary affiliations at the University of Warwick and Goldsmiths, University of London. Previously, I worked as a Senior Research Officer at Overseas Development Institute (London). I am also an Associate Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy.

‘Hierarchies of privilege’ shape contemporary practices of temporary youth migration, increasingly charted through bilateral schemes (Oommen, 2019)

Keywords: Bilateral temporary mobility arrangements, Youth migration, Knowledge/ High skilled migration, Climate Migration & Sustainable futures,Gender & work, Diversity & work culture, Tourism & migrant labour market

Key Areas of Interest

Climate change, migration & sustainable futures

UN Meteorological Organisation has released data that point to unprecedented levels of global warming in the last four year, predicted to get worse, and trigger new waves of human migration. Building collective solutions and policies to manage emerging patterns of climate migration is of utmost importance.

Gender equality & labour market

Inequality should not be an inevitable reality in daily existence. Although 143 out of 195 countries in the world guarantee gender equality in their constitutions, it has rarely trickled down to equal opportunities for women. It is in this context that research must focus on access to equal opportunities for men and women in the labour market.

Bilateral youth mobility arrangements

The Western world is increasingly moving away from encouraging patterns of permanent migration and settlement of migrants, instead, encouraging routes of temporary migration. Bilateral mobility arrangements lead in such patterns of temporary migration, with annual quota allocation for young migrants. I am particularly interested in exploring patterns of youth mobility between countries at a time when 71 million young people are unemployed around the globe.

Contested citizenship terrains

itizenship is frequently contested in today’s world where people are fleeing due to hardship, natural disasters, climate change, poverty and conflict. As human mobility gets challenged at physical borders, citizenship terrains gets contested and rewritten. For instance, Donald Trump’s hardline stance on Mexican immigration, has also seen him harden his views on citizenship by birth, currently prevailing in the USA.

  • Rights discourse of long term migrant communities

  • Focus on migrant communities in Britain – mainly British- Caribbean diaspora

  • Focus on Hong Kong – BN(O) – BOC patterns of migration

  • Economic Impact of Covid 19 on patterns of global migration

  • Focus on health worker migration from global South to global North

  • Implications of Covid-19 on international student migration.



  • April 2019, Glasgow: Long term Caribbean Migrants in the UK. A continuum of rights and restrictions, BSA Annual Conference.

  • July 2018, Toronto: Privilege and Mobility: Young Lifestyle Migrants’ Labour Market Participation in London, XIX ISA World Congress of Sociology.

  • Sept. 2016, Leeds: ‘Work and play’- The work trajectories of temporary migrants on the UK Tier-5 Youth Mobility Scheme, BSA Work, Employment, Society Conference, University of Leeds.

  • June 2015, Oxford: ‘Mobile’ youth and binaries of work and leisure, Connected Life 2015: Digital Society conference, University of Oxford

  • November 2014, Cophenhagen: ‘Mobile’ youth and binaries of work and play, Networked Urban Mobilities Conference, Aalborg University, Copenhagen.


For Consultation, Work, Research & Insights & discussion, Reach me at contact@elsaoommen.com