The Impact of the Economic Crisis on Migration Flows: Polish Immigrants in the UK and Ireland

  • Catherine Wihtol de WendenEmail author
Part of the Immigrants and Minorities, Politics and Policy book series (IMPP)


This chapter looks at how the Euro Crisis of 2008 affected migration flows by tracing the history of Polish migration to the UK and Ireland. First, it places the current crisis within the historical context of two previous crises: the oil crisis of 1973 and the Asian financial crisis of 1997–1998. Second, it focuses on the characteristics of the new migration flows that emerged with the opening of the Iron Curtain and the accession of Eastern European countries to the EU. While many of these new European citizens in the East decided to move to western Europe, they often lived liminal lives, residing in-between their place of origin and their place of immigration. Using demographic data and interviews, this chapter identifies two types of Polish migrants to western Europe: young people who moved to the UK and Ireland before the 2008 crisis to learn English and acquire some work experience, and as such took jobs with few skill requirements (in coffee shops, restaurants, and agriculture); and highly skilled individuals who joined the labor market as technicians, nurses, engineers, and computers specialists. The chapter discusses their experiences after the Euro Crisis in 2008, finding that regardless of the final effects of the EU crisis, we are witnessing a normalization of a mobile lifestyle that has remained relatively unchanged despite challenging economic conditions.


Labor Market Eastern European Country Migration Flow Polish Worker Asian Financial Crisis 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ParisFrance

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