Some Characteristics of Labour Migration and the Central European Buffer Zone

Wallace, Claire (April 1998) Some Characteristics of Labour Migration and the Central European Buffer Zone. IHS Sociological Series 25

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Abstract: Despite the high unemployment in most post-communist central European countries, there is nevertheless an influx of labour migrants from further East and South. These migrants or guest workers are attracted by the relatively high rates of pay and economic prosperity in the "buffer zone" relative to their own countries and the distinctive development of the post-communist labour market which offers opportunities for skilled, professional and highly paid workers along with business people as well as low paid workers. These workers come also from Western countries. The influx of casual migrant workers at the bottom of the labour market is matched by an outflow of people from the buffer zone countries doing similar jobs in the European Union. Many of these workers are recruited on an informal basis and many are illegal, making social capital, or connections, a particularly important factor in the organisation of the labour market and this in turn reflects historical and culturallinks within the region which the opening of borders have facilitated. The paper examines a number of models of labour migration which have been developed in other contexts and the extent to which they can be applied to the situation in post-communist Central Europe. Based upon a comparative qualitative study of migrants in Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, the paper makes the argument that these particular patterns of labour migrants should be seen in terms of segmentation in the post-communist labour markets of the Central European "buffer zone" region. For these reasons, the paper argues that this is not just the latest instance of the traditional patterns of East-West migration but needs to be seen differently, in terms of the flows of capital, goods, people and information around the region.;

Item Type: IHS Series
Keywords: 'Arbeitsmarkt von Migranten' 'Zentraleuropa' 'Postkommunismus' 'Migrant labour market' 'Central Europe' 'Post-Communism'
Status: Published
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2014 10:36
Last Modified: 07 Aug 2017 19:19
URI: http://irihs.ihs.ac.at/id/eprint/1062

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