Humanities and Social Sciences

Central and Eastern European Migration Review

Content

Central and Eastern European Migration Review | 2019 | vol. 8 | No 1 |

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Abstract

In this paper we review the significant political events and economic forces shaping contemporary mi-gration within and into Europe. Various data sources are deployed to chronicle five phases of migration affecting the continent over the period 1945–2015: immediate postwar migrations of resettlement, the mass migration of ‘guestworkers’, the phase of economic restructuring and family reunion, asylum-seek-ing and irregular migration, and the more diverse dynamics unfolding in an enlarged European Union post-2004, not forgetting the spatially variable impact of the 2008 economic crisis. In recent years, in a scenario of rising migration globally, there has been an increase in intra-European migration com-pared to immigration from outside the continent. However, this may prove to be temporary given the convergence of economic indicators between ‘East’ and ‘West’ within the EU and the European Eco-nomic Area, and that ongoing population pressures from the global South, especially Africa, may inten-sify. Managing these pressures will be a major challenge from the perspective of a demographically shrinking Europe.

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Authors and Affiliations

Russell King
Marek Okólski
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Abstract

Our article considers social remittances and social change in Central and Eastern Europe. We show how migration scholarship can be embedded into the wider study of social processes and relations. ‘Social remitting’ sometimes seems to be little more than a slippery catchphrase; however, this article defends the concept. If it is defined carefully and used cautiously, it should help the researcher to think about what, in addition to money, is sent from one society to another and exactly how, thus shedding light on important and insufficiently studied aspects of migration. A close-up view of the processes by which ideas, practices, norms, values and, according to some definitions, social capital and social skills are transferred by migrants across international borders helps researchers to understand more pre-cisely how migration contributes to social change or, in some cases, prevents it from occurring. Our article reviews some of the most interesting arguments and findings presented recently by other scholars and discusses aspects of social remitting which particularly interested us in our own research. The context of our research is social change in Poland: we attempt to understand how migration has con-tributed to wider patterns of social change since 1989 and exactly how it intertwines with other social trends and globalisation influences. This entails a careful focus on both structural conditions and agency and therefore on social remittances.

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Authors and Affiliations

Anna White
Izabela Grabowska
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Abstract

Ukraine has been going through a series of political and economic crises, notably the Euromaidan revolution and the Russian aggression and subsequent economic downturn. These events triggered fresh transnational diaspora-led activities such as the ‘London Euromaidan’ and the ‘Warsaw Euromaidan’. This paper analyses Ukrainian diaspora volunteerism in the UK and Poland and explores how the Ukrainian diaspora engages and contributes economically, socially, politically and culturally to the development of Ukraine. Drawing on fieldwork in both countries, three main findings were identified. First, due to the events in Ukraine, the Ukrainian diaspora has mobilised, grown stronger and became more united, whilst transforming from a more inward-looking to a more outward-looking community which, as a result, is now more and critically engaging with Ukrainian affairs. Second, the Ukrainian diaspora has the willingness, power and resources to contribute to the development of the home country, claiming to be recognised as an important stakeholder in the development of Ukraine. Thirdly, the Ukrainian government’s lack of recognition of the contribution of the Ukrainian diaspora is one of the most significant barriers to more comprehensive diaspora involvement in development.

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Authors and Affiliations

Iryna Lapshyna
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Abstract

In contrast to the usual integration of migrant workers in the ‘bottom jobs’ on the labour market, the em-ployment of Ukrainian workers in Hungarian electronics plants seems to take place in a more beneficial way. With the active mediation of temporary (temp) agencies, Ukrainian migrant workers are offered regular blue-collar assembly work, together with the same social rights and benefits as their local Hungarian col-leagues. Relying, in our analysis, on the literature on industrial sociology, migration research and global value chains, we are developing a critical perspective in which migration and employment are not seen as separate spheres but as mutually reinforcing each other. We combine bottom-up empirical research based on interviews with workers and a sectoral inquiry on industrial and employment relations in the temp agency sector supplying multinational corporations. Our main argument is that complex contracting also means subtle controlling. Such contracting is not the cheapest form but it creates a different, efficient employment regime with dependent, controllable, flexibly available, ‘fluid’ employees. Employee respondents described their position as dependent, ‘out of control’ and a temporary earning opportunity. Devoid of clear mecha-nisms for controlling their work conditions or growth within the job, all respondents turned to a more instru-mental approach, in which they invested in building up social capital through friendships, networks and personal relationships. Obtaining Hungarian citizenship and learning the language were two other main strategies for dealing with insecurity. Their efforts correspond with and reinforce a more globally integrated but ethnically motivated immigration regime, characteristic of post-socialist Hungary.

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Authors and Affiliations

Tibor T. Meszmann
Olena Fedyuk
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Abstract

The paper investigates the mechanisms behind the formation and maintenance of those migrants’ social ties which translate into a particular composition of the network and become a source of social capital. Based on a number of in-depth interviews with Ukrainian migrants in Warsaw, we find that Ukrainian migrants’ networks are based primarily on ties homogenous in regard to nationality, level of education and character of work. The institutional context of social interaction determines with whom migrants form relations and whether these ties become a source of social advancement. The studied migrants do form bridging ties with more experienced, as well as socially and legally embedded persons, mainly other migrants, receiving both instrumental and emotional support.

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Authors and Affiliations

Marta Kindler
Katarzyna Wójcikowska-Baniak
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Abstract

Ethnic return migration is a widespread strategy for migrants from economically disadvantaged coun-tries. This article is about those ethnic return migrants who might successfully migrate thanks to their ancestors; their decision is based upon economic, pragmatic or rationalistic incentives aside from their diasporic feeling of belonging. Although this phenomenon has already been studied, scholars still mostly refer only to the benefits proposed by immigration policy as a key to understanding it. The impact of policy in the country of emigration on ethnic return migration is understudied. This article fills this gap. I found that when the Soviet Union introduced an attractive policy for Ukrainians/Russians in terms of study or work opportunities and the inhabitants in the Ukrainian Soviet Republic were quick to proclaim themselves as Ukrainians or Russians, the dissolution of the Soviet Union quickly changed this motiva-tion. Ukrainians with Czech ancestors started to aim at obtaining official status as Czech members of the diaspora because of the benefits proposed by the Czech government (mainly permanent residency). However, it is difficult to prove the required link to one’s Czech ancestors due to Soviet-era documents in which the column with the Czech nationality of people’s ancestors is often missing. These observa-tions lead to the conclusion that an attractive immigration policy aimed at the diaspora should not be treated as the only comprehensive explanation for ethnic return migration. Ethnic policy in the country of emigration also shapes this kind of migration and – in this concrete case – could even discourage ethnic return migrants.

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Authors and Affiliations

Luděk Jirka

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