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2014 | 3 | 1 | 115-130
Article title

Migration of Ukrainian Nationals to Portugal: Changing Flows and the Critical Role of Social Networks

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Abstracts
EN
In a short period of time, Ukrainians became the second largest foreign community living in Portugal. Without historical ties linking the two countries, the ‘migration industry’ as well as positive feedback and assistance provided through pioneers’ social networks were decisive for the constitution and rapid expansion of the flow. However it slowed down in only few years and the economic crisis affecting Portugal since 2008 has introduced new limits to a possible future expansion. The goal of the paper is to provide insights with respect to the evolution of the flow, particularly looking at mechanisms of assistance and feedback provided and received within social networks, including the role of the ‘migration industry’. We explored quantitative and qualitative data collected through questionnaires applied to 306 Ukrainians and interviews conducted with 31 Ukrainians in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area in 2011 and 2012. The research confirms the importance of assistance received through social networks at different stages of the preparation of the move, upon arrival and throughout the settlement process in Portugal. We conclude that negative opinions on the present economic opportunities in Portugal have replaced initial positive perceptions about labour market opportunities and this information is being transmitted through social networks to Ukrainians back in Ukraine. We suggest that the significant decrease of the inflow can probably be explained by negative feedback and a more limited willingness to assist the migration of others. Future trends in the migratory flow of Ukrainian citizens to Portugal as well as the permanence of these immigrants in the country are uncertain. On the one hand, migrants are struggling to live through the crisis, while the recent social upheaval in Ukraine pushes them to leave.
Keywords
Contributors
  • Centre for Geographical Studies, Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning, Universidade de Lisboa
  • Centre for Geographical Studies, Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning, Universidade de Lisboa
  • University of Deusto
author
  • Centre for Geographical Studies, Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning, Universidade de Lisboa
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bwmeta1.element.desklight-da2a2208-ed40-4b9e-be4e-86569708425a
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