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East-Central European migrants in Sweden - Migration motives and migration outcome

Author(s): Jenny Olofsson | Kerstin Westin

Journal: Przestrzeń Społeczna
ISSN 2084-1558

Issue: 2;
Start page: 75;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: East-west migration | Migration motive | Outcome | Labour market success | International migration

The disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1989 and the European Union enlargement in 2004 and 2007 respectively have changed the preconditions of east-west migration. However, the geopolitical changes have not resulted in the ‘mass migration’ that was initially expected from the EU15. Sweden is one of the countries to which migration from East-Central Europe has been modest, although it has increased. Reasons why this migration is still limited in Sweden are not only connected to political structures; occupation, family situation, and social networks are additional issues that matter in the migration decision-making process. This paper explores migration motives and the outcome of the migration in terms of employment, family status and satisfaction with the migration decision for people moving to Sweden from Russia and the East-Central European countries, Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.The study is based on a questionnaire survey and reveals significant gender differences when it comes to migration motives, and women tend to state social reasons to a higher degree than men. Although social motives predominate among the migrants, economic reasons tend to become more important over time, particularly after the year 2000. Moreover, the majority of the respondents report that to migrate was a fairly easy decision to make. However, some differences exist depending on country and gender, whereby the decision is perceived as less easy for migrants from Russia and Poland and for women who stated social and economic motives. There is also evidence that motives are of importance for labour market success among respondents.

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