Leaving Spain: a qualitative study of migration reasons of Spanish in Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom

Enrique Ortega-Rivera, Centre d’Estudis Demogràfics (CED), UAB

The new wave of labour migration from southern European countries to northern Europe has attracted considerable media and policy attention. This paper aims to contribute to a better understanding of these emerging patterns by examining the causes and reasons for migration of Spanish nationals who have left the country since the onset of the crisis. Our qualitative approach is based on 48 semi-structured interviews to men and women, with different educational backgrounds, currently living in Britain, Germany and Switzerland. Theoretically, we assume that migration processes are the result of complex decision making procedures in which a whole set of economic, social and institutional factors lies behind the individual decision to migrate. Against this background, we broadly consider whether economic motives –unemployment, job insecurity or better job prospects abroad- have played a dominant role in the decision to migrate among Spanish nationals or whether social networks were more important factors driving these migrations. We also analyse whether -and how- migration motives can be differentiated regarding gender and educational backgrounds and how migration decisions are imbedded in the meso-level and structured by the macro-level.

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 Presented in Session P1. Poster Session 1