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Strategic Migrant Network Building and Information Sharing: Understanding ‘Migrant Pioneers’ in Canada

International Migration

Published online on


This article explores the migrant networks that develop between migrants, non‐migrants and the larger Indian diaspora. Specifically, it examines the decision to migrate to Toronto, Canada and how this decision is shaped by, and in turn shapes the migrant network. Based on 35 interviews with migrants from Karnataka, South India, two main findings are presented. First, migrants are deliberately choosing settlement countries in which their families are not yet located, thereby becoming “migrant pioneers” in their country of settlement, which is an attempt to expand their migrant networks globally. Second, the narratives these migrants receive and subsequently impart to others are often inaccurate, which can lead to miscommunication flows among these migrant networks. These findings are considered in light of the large body of research on migrant networks and the ways they develop and transmit information. This paper argues that existing understanding of migrant networks is somewhat static. Findings indicate that these “migrant pioneers” may be engaging in global risk‐diversification strategies for subsequent generations, but may themselves suffer from the more immediate consequences of misinformed networks.