2015 | 41 | 3 (157) | 15–36
Article title

The Impact of Migration on Paid Work and Child-Care Arrangements among Polish Migrant Parents in Scotland

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This paper draws on a qualitative study of Polish parents in thirty families who migrated to Scotland after Poland’s accession to the EU in 2004. It investigates the different ways in which these parents negotiate child-care and paid work, looking at how their preferences and choices relate to social and policy norms in Poland and the UK, to their own personal life trajectories, and to the contexts and opportunities available to them in Scotland. In my analysis, I make use of theory relating to labour market change and to women’s preferences in work, drawing on Catherine Hakim’s ‘Preference Theory’. I look at the relevance of historical influences and norms stemming from communism and Catholicism in Poland, as well as the more recent impact of neoliberalism, on paid work and child-care strategies. In my analysis, I highlight in particular the importance placed by parents on the opportunities provided by the more flexible labour market, greater availability of parttime work and easier access to vocational training for parents in the UK than in Poland. To assist analysis, I distinguish three family types within my study group: first, young families in which parents migrated singly and subsequently started families in the UK; second, older families who migrated with school-age children in search of a better standard of living; and third, professional or skilled parents who migrated to take up employment in their field in the UK. I find that each type of family is associated with a different pattern of child-care and employment in the UK and explore how migration has impacted on parents’ ability to enact their chosen lifestyle.
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