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Symposium, 5 June, 2008

Trinity Immigration Initiative/ERC Research Symposium:

From East to West and Back Again? Migration, Mobility and Employment in the New Europe

Since the accession of ten new member states to the European Union in April 2004 the movement of people from East to West has been a multiple of official predictions.  Today, while migrants continue to leave Poland, the Baltic states and elsewhere for countries such as Ireland, there is now also a reverse flow from West to East.  This is the context for this research symposium organised by the Trinity Immigration Initiative (TII) at Trinity College Dublin.

For a country such as Ireland, this mass immigration is almost completely novel.  The temptation is to understand the process in terms of the historical experience of the mass immigration to the ‘core’ countries of Western Europe from the 1950s onwards.  However, labour markets are now regulated in different ways, the employment structure has long moved away from the large manufacturing enterprises which employed so many of that wave of immigration.  Employers therefore may utilise migrant labour in very different ways to the past. 

More than ever before, migration within Europe today highlights the role of individual decisions and individual choices.  Migrants are conscious actors, with more or less developed career strategies and aspirations which are adjusted and changed over time as new problems are encountered and new opportunities arise.  

Above all, transportation and communication technologies make physical and ‘virtual’ travel qualitatively easier.  Migration and employment are now perhaps one form of mobility within a wider European or even global labour market. 

This one day symposium brought together European researchers to discuss such issues.  Topics discussed included:

The symposium was organised by the Migrant Careers and Aspirations research project within the Trinity Immigration Initiative.
For further information, please contact Elaine Moriarty at 01 8963549 or


Dr James Wickham, Trinity Immigration Initiative and Employment Research Centre, TCD

From Migration to Mobility – Transnationalism or Return of the Guest Worker?

Dr Izabela Grabowska-Lusinska, Centre of Migration Research, University of Warsaw

Skill Shortages, migration and disequilibrium in the Polish labour market: where and why to return?

Prof Marek Kupiszewski, Central European Forum for Migration and Population Research, Warsaw

The Impact of future demographic trends in Europe

Prof Philip J. O’Connell, Head of Social Research, Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin

Migration and the Labour Market in Ireland

Prof John Eade, CRONEM, University of Surrey/Roehampton

The limits of the rational actor paradigm in understanding contemporary A8 migration to the UK: Should I go or should I stay?

Dr Holger Kolb, Institute of Migration Research and Intercultural Studies, University of Osnabrueck

Emigration, Immigration and the Quality of Membership: On the Political Economy of Immigration Politics

Dr Krzysztof Nawratek, NIRSA, National University of Ireland, Maynooth

Immigrants as Translocal Agents: Looking for an institutional platform linking small towns in Ireland and in Eastern Europe

Dr Elaine Moriarty, Justyna Salamonska & Alicja Bobek, Trinity Immigration Initiative, Employment Research Centre, TCD

Migrant Careers and Aspirations: Some Preliminary Research Issues

Dr Christine Cross and Dr Tom Turner, Department of Personnel and Employment Relations, University of Limerick

Work experiences of Polish immigrants in the Irish labour force