Migrants’ struggles against borders have been examined extensively among refugees and undocumented migrants, whereas the everyday struggles in contexts of administrative bordering have remained insufficiently examined within the framework of so-called highly skilled migration. Drawing on in-depth interviews (N=34) with migrants holding a student residence permit in Finland, this article addresses the means of challenging administrative borders in a constrained situation produced by the border regime. I argue that student-migrant-workers employ pragmatic strategies by making use of the legal framework to secure their right to residence. However, the efforts at circumventing the constraints of the border regime often become re-inscribed within the framework of capitalist production, displaying the ambivalence of migrant practices. This article contributes to the scarce sociological literature on the struggles around administrative borders and the vague scholarly inquiry into student-migrants’ efforts at challenging migration control.

DOI: 10.1177/00380385211033174
ISSN: 0038-0385