Loughborough University
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Stepping-stone migration: Polish graduates in England

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posted on 2013-06-25, 10:35 authored by Aga Szewczyk
This thesis examines the migrationary processes of graduates leaving their home country and their post-migration experiences and aspirations in a receiving state. Using the case study of England, findings are presented from qualitative research with Polish graduates born between the late 1970s and early 1980s, and who moved to England after 2004. It is argued that this generation of Polish migrants is particularly important given the profound impacts of socio-cultural and economic transformation in Poland, tied to the emergence of capitalism, the preparation for accession of Poland to the European Union (EU) and EU citizenship in 2004, on current debates on the geographies of graduate migration within and beyond Europe. Several important findings are revealed by the research. First, it is asserted that perspectives of migration which focus on structure-agency relations (Halfacree, 1995) need to encompass the economic and political aspects of participants sending state at the time of migration, as well as the historical influences on migration decision-making processes. Second, the discussion shows that graduate migration to another country leads to differing approaches to career and life trajectory development after migration and this thesis conceptualises these using the following typology: Continuers , Switchers and Late Awakeners , with dynamism and slippage across the groupings. Third, the findings expose graduate migrant perceptions of becoming and being highly-skilled, and the role of university preparation, and other forms of post-graduate training and potentially strategic acquisitions of citizenship for labour market confidence to compete and undertake professional jobs in Poland and England. Fourth, the thesis stresses that migration is often a first step in graduate migrants life trajectories and it emphasises the importance of a stepping-stone migration , both socially and spatially, and which is embedded within individuals' life-phases and perceptions of home and place. It is argued that this conceptual and geographic contribution to wider studies of graduate migration across countries may have wider resonance to other graduate migrant groups in Europe and beyond.



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  • Geography and Environment


© Aga Szewczyk

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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