POLISH CIRCULAR MIGRATION AND MARGINALITY: A LIVELIHOOD STRATEGY APPROACH
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The paper is based on 49 semi-structured interviews conducted in 2012–3 with return migrants and/or long-term unemployed people in Grajewo and Limanowa. I explore the causes of circular migration from Poland to West European countries today (preferring the term ‘repeated migration,’ since interviewees often migrated at irregular intervals). Migration theory suggests that as migration networks proliferate, migration becomes less selective and some poorer people begin to migrate. Applying a livelihood strategy approach to understand how residents of small towns – especially parents – make choices about where to work, I found that even the poorest interviewees had contacts abroad and did consider international migration as an option. However, these contacts did not always facilitate their migration and, if interviewees went abroad, they lacked confidence to expand their networks in the receiving country and stay long enough to significantly improve their household income. Obtaining contacts abroad, in the context of an overall expansion of transnational networks between Poland and the UK, does not always make migration easy, and only partly explains why poor people migrate. Push factors remain very significant.
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