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How to Find a Job? The Case of Polish and Lithuanian Migration Networks

Jurga Bučaitė-Vilkė
Vytautas Magnus University
Jurga Bučaitė-Vilkė
Vytautas Magnus University
Open Panel

Abstract

This paper focuses on the analysis of the highly-qualified emigration based on the empirical research on Lithuanian and Polish workforce migration to western countries. Recent statistical data indicates the enormously growing migration flows of people from the Lithuanian and Poland, mainly between 25-39 years old with higher education to other high-income economy countries. The paper not only examines the outputs of political decisions which influence the flow of high-skilled migrants from Lithuania and Poland to other European countries, but also analyzes the subjective experiences and reflections of migrants in the integration process in a foreign country’s labour market. The theoretical discussion points to the importance of new-institutionalism, putting an accent on personal attitudes and preferences as they are reflected in the institutions and their interrelations (March and Olsen, 1984, 2005; Olsen, 2001, etc.). From the other hand, we are following the theory of cumulative causation of migration with the main argument that migration networks are embedded in social rules, norms and social context of core and destination country. Formation of high-skilled migration networks increases the opportunities of professional mobility as well as enables the exchange of diverse resources in these networks. Migration networks also provide the financial resources, personal contacts or emotional support in settlement, housing or job-searching in migrants’ destination country (Granovetter 1973; Boyd 1989; Palloni, Massey et al. 2001; Tilly 2007, etc.). We illustrate the theoretical insights by the empirical data from international research of economic migration of Lithuanian and Polish administered by Hokkaido University, Japan (financed by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technologies of Japan). The research was conducted in 2008-2010 in different European countries with the highest migrants’ population of our target groups, including Scandinavian countries, UK, Ireland, Germany and Spain. The general bulk of the data comes from the in-depth interviews with more than 150 respondents with different socio-demographic characteristics. The main empirical results indicate that the formal and informal nature of migration networks becomes one of the main social, economic and cultural resources for the successful adaptation in migrants’ destination country, especially into labour market, but also creates the new challenges for the migration policies and social tensions.