Working Paper

Polish Migration to the UK: Continuities and Discontinuities

Published 1 January 2011 / By Franck Düvell, Michael Garapich

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Introduction

This paper puts the recent influx of Polish migration to the UK in a historical context, offers a periodised perspective and distinguishes between earlier forced migration and contemporary economic migration. Further to this, it goes beyond the often discussed quantitative dimension and adds a qualitative perspective. This enables us to differentiate the social group of Polish migrants by their migration strategies, motivations and identities. A typology of Polish migration to the UK is suggested, notably short-term and long-term migrants and the size of each category discussed. Often, strategies are a reflection of the increased risks of individual choice in the postmodern world and geared towards increasing the pool of available options. Finally, this paper not only identifies the different eras and kinds of migration and their characteristics but suggests that these are linked together across time and space by certain migration industries and network.

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