During the talk I will reflect on how highly-skilled people with a migration background present their experiences of occupational mobility and on knowledge production, in particular how pre-conceptions of integration or exclusion underlie research methods. My inquiries are based on the analysis of methods and research data from in-depth interviews with Ukrainian migrant workers carried out in 2017 in Poland. In literature occupational mobility is depicted as either downward (leading to exclusion) or upward (leading to “successful integration”) (Adamson & Roper, 2019; Czaika & Vothknecht, 2014; Simón et al., 2014). Meanwhile, the analysed qualitative data points to shades of grey of occupational mobility. Apart from rare cases of classical up-ward occupational mobility – from unskilled to highly-skilled jobs, the occupational mobility of the research participants was characterised by not clear cut transitions, with less or unskilled and informal jobs combined (treated as economic safety nets) with jobs in the formal labour market (treated as social status).