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Go West: East European migrants in Sweden
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Geography and Economic History.
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Från öst till väst : Östeuropeiska migranter i Sverige (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

Many people have migrated between East and West Europe in recent decades. The daily life of these migrants is crucial not only for the migrants themselves but also for the development of future migration. The aim of this thesis is to explore the interaction between migration motives, integration, social networks and migration, and how this affects international migration processes in general. This is done using migration between Sweden on the one hand and Russia, Poland and the Baltic States on the other as a case study.

The thesis consists of three empirical studies which derive from different sources of data: the first (Paper I) draws on individual Swedish register data while the second and third are based upon a questionnaire survey. Paper I explores aspects of transnational social spaces in the context of migration from the non-Baltic former Soviet republics to Sweden before and after the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989. The results of this paper show rather limited migration and a lack of a more developed transnational social space. This is partly due to weak integration on the labour market, a high degree of intermarriage, no existing migrant community and limited return migration. The following two papers (II, III) focus on migrants from Russia, Poland and the Baltic States to Sweden after 1990. Paper II analyses migration motives and the outcome of the migration decision, and reveals significant gender differences in the motives for migrating and in how men and women adapt in their new country of living. While men mainly came for economic reasons, the majority of women came for intermarriage in Sweden; however, the migration motives have changed over time towards more economic ones. The final paper (III) shows significant gender differences in the migrants’ perceived sense of belonging in Sweden. Women report a stronger sense of belonging than their male counterparts, and while men’s sense of belonging is mainly affected by duration of stay in Sweden, language proficiency and citizenship, women’s sense of belonging is shown to be mostly affected by local social networks. In sum, the results in this thesis show that migration systems and transnational social spaces between Sweden and the respective countries have not yet emerged. This is partly due to the specific migrant composition and integration that characterize this migration process. The immigrants mainly function as weak bridgeheads, and do not facilitate the development of any further migration. However, with a changing migration flow, including migrants with different motives and migration agendas, future migrants can be stronger bridgeheads and facilitate further development of migration systems and transnational social spaces.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 2012. , 63 p.
Series
GERUM, ISSN 1402-5205 ; 2012:2
Keyword [en]
East-West migration, international migration, integration, migration motives, social networks, belonging, migration systems, transnational social spaces, Sweden
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Social and Economic Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-61467ISBN: 978-91-7459-489-8 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-61467DiVA: diva2:567973
Public defence
2012-12-07, Samhällsvetarhuset, Hörsal S205H, Umeå Universitet, Umeå, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2012-11-16 Created: 2012-11-14 Last updated: 2012-11-15Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. When will the Russians come?: On Post-Soviet immigration and integration in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>When will the Russians come?: On Post-Soviet immigration and integration in Sweden
2011 (English)In: International migration (Geneva. Print), ISSN 0020-7985, E-ISSN 1468-2435, Vol. 49, no 4, 93-117 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The focus of this paper is one of the paradoxes of international migration: the unexpectedly low level of migration between neighbouring countries with large macro-economic differentials; in this case migration from the former Soviet republics to Sweden. In line with Faist (2000), one assumption in the study is that the dynamics of international migration are strongly influenced by the emergence of a transnational social space. Based on a database (ASTRID) containing individual information about all residents in Sweden for the period 1986–2003, the study includes an analysis of migration in relation to the transnational social space -- its bridging and adaptive functions -- including labour market integration, family situation, intermarriage, population circulation and the spatial clustering of immigrants.

The study reveals an over-representation of female immigrants and a high frequency of intermarriage among women migrants. Moreover, a changing migrant composition over the past decades was found, including a growing number of students, whereas the empirical analyses indicate a rather weak labour market position among immigrants from former Soviet republics. However, the position of recently arrived migrants has been enhanced over time, and migrants who stay for longer periods attain a stronger position on the labour market. The analyses also show an increasing number of highly educated persons among immigrants from the former Soviet republics. Furthermore, migrants from the former Soviet republics who move to Sweden tend to remain rather than return. In addition, the empirical analysis shows only minor tendencies of spatial clustering among the migrants. In sum, the study indicates that the lack of a more developed transnational social space may explain the rather low level of migration but also that the changing mobility patterns could represent an initial phase of a denser transnational social space that may trigger higher migration rates between the former Soviet republics and Sweden in the near future.

National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Social and Economic Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-32601 (URN)10.1111/j.1468-2435.2009.00600.x (DOI)
Available from: 2010-03-18 Created: 2010-03-18 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
2. East-Central European migrants in Sweden: migration motives and migration outcome
Open this publication in new window or tab >>East-Central European migrants in Sweden: migration motives and migration outcome
2011 (English)In: Social Space, ISSN 2084-1558, Vol. 2, 75-103 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Rzeszow University and BOSQO, 2011
Keyword
East-west migration, Migration motive, Outcome, Labour market success, International migration
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-53303 (URN)
Available from: 2012-03-20 Created: 2012-03-20 Last updated: 2012-11-15Bibliographically approved
3. A sense of belonging: Social integration among East European immigrants in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A sense of belonging: Social integration among East European immigrants in Sweden
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this study the focus is directed beyond the economic issues of integration. Instead, the emphasis is placed on migrants’ perceived sense of belonging in the receiving society. This is done by analysing the effect of socio-demographic characteristics, social networks and adaptation time, in terms of duration of stay, citizenship and language proficiency, on immigrants from Russia, the Baltic States and Poland in Sweden. Based on a representative questionnaire, the main finding is that there are significant gender differences in the immigrants’ sense of belonging. The analysis reveals that local ties are significant in women’s sense of belonging in Sweden, while men’s sense of belonging is mainly affected by how long the immigrant has lived in Sweden and language proficiency.

Keyword
Social integration, sense of belonging, social networks, East-West migration, Sweden
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Social and Economic Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-61466 (URN)
Available from: 2012-11-14 Created: 2012-11-14 Last updated: 2012-11-15Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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