Considering the mental health of migrant academics

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In the past couple of weeks, I’ve spent a fair amount of time presenting my work with Namrata Rao on migrant academics. At the same time, there have been another round of articles about mental health in academia as well as issues about migrant academics spending large amounts of money on visas.

This got me thinking and reflecting about the job and life anxiety I faced when I used to apply for visas. I had to wait for at least 6 weeks to see whether the Home Office will grant me a visa because I wanted to save a few hundred pounds using the postal route rather than the premium (same day) service. I once lost a job offer waiting for a visa at a time when I really needed a job (just after finishing my PhD).

Therefore, beyond the normal anxiety and stress of academia, migrant academics on work visas (ie non-EU) probably face an additional amount of stress as they cannot make any long-term decisions as their future is uncertain and is dependent on the vagaries of the Home Office and given their record with Windrush, migrant academics may have every reason to be anxious and stressed about their situations. With Breast in the horizon, migrant EU academics are also likely facing similar types of stress and anxiety.

However, this is all speculation on my behalf. But I haven’t heard of any studies around migrant academics and their mental health* and may be something that we need to look into. Further, with the impending Brexit, universities have tried to reassure their migrant EU academics about their job security (which is commendable) but universities have a duty of care and to need to consider the welfare of their staff and provide more specialist mental health provisions for them.

Endnotes

* Share with me any work you know of

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