Purpose –This paper aims to investigate the interplay between international migration, soft skills and job and life satisfaction after returns.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper uses the dataset of Human Capital in Poland 2010–2014 representative surveys with 4040 return migrants, who worked temporarily abroad and returned to an origin in comparison with almost 70,000 stayers, who never worked abroad. In this study, Poland is treated as a strategic research site for the labor migration processes, which happened after the biggest European Union enlargement in 2004.
Findings – This study discovered that working abroad had a positive relation with cognitive, intrapersonal and interpersonal competencies, as well as job and life satisfaction. However, the relations differ depending on the key destination country.
Practical implications – This study discusses the implications for future research and practice, offering recommendations to organizations on how to embed employees with these resources in companies and how to support return migrants and their potential employers with the use of migratory informal human capital in personnel management and counseling.
Originality/value – This paper brings quantitative arguments about the hidden impacts of international migration on human capital by uniquely comparing the migrant population with the non-migrant population.