New receiving countries and the European ‘mobility laboratory’: integration and family reunification aspirations among Ukrainians in Płock

Anne White

Abstrakt

Poland has recently become a country with net immigration, thanks largely to an influx of labour migrants from all over Ukraine. This begs the question of how similar its experiences will be to those of European countries which made the same migration transition in the 20th century. The article explores how recently-arrived Ukrainians experience life in a medium-sized Polish city, Płock, which has itself only recently achieved net international immigration. I argue that one should not overplay Poland’s status as a new receiving country, differentiating it from established receiving countries such as the UK. In fact, there are many parallels between the experiences of migrants in the UK and Poland, primarily linked to 21st century opportunities to establish dynamic transnational migration networks. All receiving countries need to adjust to this unexpected situation. For the Ukrainian factory workers interviewed in this study, its most important aspect is that the majority aspire to bring their families to Poland – just as Polish families rapidly reunited abroad in the aftermath of Poland’s EU accession.

Słowa kluczowe: Ukrainian migrants, migration transition, new receiving countries
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