Drawing on Bourdieu's concept of capital this study deploys a relational perspective to examine capital mobilization strategies of skilled migrants from recession ravaged Western- and impoverished Eastern-European member states when navigating their way through structural constraints that affect their career choices. It is a multilevel approach that allows overcoming the individual (micro) emphasis in the self-initiated expatriation literature, organizational (meso) and contextual (macro) focus in the skilled migration studies. Based on qualitative research involving self-initiated expatriates from the European Union (EU) in Edinburgh the study extends our understanding beyond the narrow discourse of human capital and offers a more holistic picture of skilled migration in the age of austerity. The study also exposes that EU citizenship is not enough to undertake successful career mobility. Finally, it highlights the need of proactive and purposeful policies to retain the brain while not imposing any draconian on free movement of human capital.