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Gender and Contacts at Arrival among Refugee and Family Reunion Migrants: Resources and Constraints
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8422-7023
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Increasing rates of immigration have led to rising concern about integration in Europe. Previous studies point to the importance of social contacts for migrants’ labour market integration, but the literature remains inconclusive as to whether contacts provide higher returns for men or for women. This paper contributes to existing knowledge by assessing gender differences in the association between pre-migration contacts, defined as family, friends, both family and friends or no contacts, and labour market entry. Results based on the Swedish Level of Living survey of Foreign-born and their Children reveal significant gender differences. Among men, friends appear to promote labour market entry and are associated with about a two-year shorter job search than no contacts. Among women, family is associated with a two-year longer job search. This indicates that friends provide men with an added bonus in the labour market. By contrast, women’s job searches are constrained by factors linked to having family at the destination.

Keywords [en]
integration, social contacts, gender, labour market entry
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-173656OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-173656DiVA, id: diva2:1372149
Available from: 2019-11-22 Created: 2019-11-22 Last updated: 2019-12-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Borders and Barriers: Studies on Migration and Integration in the Nordic and Mexico-U.S. Settings
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Borders and Barriers: Studies on Migration and Integration in the Nordic and Mexico-U.S. Settings
2020 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

International migration engages large numbers of people. Men, women and children break up from their homes and move to another country temporarily or permanently. Depending on the country of origin and the destination, this comes with varying degrees of uncertainties about where to settle, how much to invest in building a new life abroad and how to retain ties to the country of origin. In recent years, policies have become increasingly salient for migrants’ experiences. They impact entry possibilities and the ease of travelling back home. Increased policing of migrants can interfere in the building of a new life abroad and contribute to stress and apprehension felt among both migrants and their children. To some extent counteracting this, family and friends may provide newly arrived migrants with information on job opportunities and facilitate the transition into the new country.

This dissertation analyses the links between migration and integration patterns and migrants’ ties to the home and destination country. It does this in two ultimately distinct settings when it comes to the borders and barriers that migrants face: the Nordic and Mexico-U.S. settings. Until recently, Swedish migration policy was among the most welcoming to migrants from different parts of the world. Migration within the Nordic countries, in particular, is characterised by open borders. By contrast, Mexico and the U.S. are separated by an increasingly militarised border and internal policing of migrants has risen dramatically. Consequently, these settings provide contrasting and interesting examples of the relationship between the policy context and migrants’ experiences.

Study 1 shows that many moves are temporary and short term in the Nordic setting of free mobility. Still, the threshold to the first move is notably higher than for subsequent moves. Study 2 reveals that rising deportations of Mexican migrants in the U.S. are associated with a shift from savings brought home to the sending of remittances. Afraid of a sudden arrest or deportation, migrants maintain transnational ties by sending remittances back to Mexico rather than carrying savings across the border. Study 3 investigates the different roles that social contacts play for male and female migrants’ integration into the Swedish labour market. Whereas friends provide men with benefits in the labour market, women’s job search is often constrained by factors linked to having family in Sweden. Study 4 shows that the implementation of local level immigration enforcement in the U.S. has a negative impact on district level average educational achievement among Hispanic students. This indicates that integration and resulting ethnic achievement gaps are shaped by increased policing and surveillance of migrants.

This dissertation reveals a series of complex relationships between migration, integration and policies. Family and kin influence migration decisions also when barriers to movement are low. In the new country, kin can assist migrants’ job search or slow it down when newly arrived migrants are expected to care for them. Policing of migrants makes it more difficult to return and may affect migrants’ abilities to invest in building a new life, as indicated by negative effects for educational outcomes among groups targeted by immigration enforcement. Taken together, these factors shape the experiences and life chances of both migrants and their children in the new country.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Sociology, Stockholm University, 2020. p. 58
Series
Stockholm studies in sociology, ISSN 0491-0885 ; 77
Keywords
migration, integration, policy context, free mobility, circular migration, social capital, labour market entry, transnational ties, deportations, remittances, savings, educational achievement
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-176113 (URN)978-91-7797-875-6 (ISBN)978-91-7797-876-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2020-01-17, William-Olssonsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Manuscript. Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript.

Available from: 2019-12-18 Created: 2019-11-25 Last updated: 2019-12-19Bibliographically approved

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