Academic journal article Migration Letters

The Interplay between Family and Emigration from Romania

Academic journal article Migration Letters

The Interplay between Family and Emigration from Romania

Article excerpt

Abstract

East European migration became a significant feature in the post 1990 Europe. Although migration based on family connections is the most frequently used form of legal entry into the European Union, and family structure influences (and it is influenced by) migration, in the European literature more attention has been paid to individual (labour) migration rather than family migration. This paper intends to be a review of studies on family migration from Romania. Through this study, 'family migration' is used to understand not only the migration of the whole family unit but also migration of individuals within the context of family.

Keywords: Migration; family; Eastern Europe; Romania; children

Introduction

The fall of the Berlin wall, followed later by the integration of several EastEuropean into the European Union has added an East-West (as opposed to South-North) dimension to European migration. Although the number of migrants was not as high as expected, the phenomenon is significant. While at the beginning of the 1990s, the East-European emigration was dominated by the waves of refugees leaving former Yugoslavia and minorities (Germans going to Germany or Roma claiming refugee status), the 2000s decade saw an increasing number of economic emigrants going West. The post 2000 border agreements between Schengen countries and several East European countries and the 2004 and 2007 EU enlargements facilitated this population movement. Among the East-European countries, Romania, Bulgaria and Poland stand out in terms of the number of emigrants and emigration rate. Romanians are currently the second and Poles the fourth largest immigrant community within European Union; it is estimated that 19% of the working-age Romanians and 10% of the Bulgarians live currently abroad.

In the European literature, more attention has been paid to individual (labour) migration rather than family migration. However, migration based on family connections is the most often used form of legal entry into EU coun- tries (Kofmann, 2004) and family structure influences (Mincer, 1978) and it is influenced by migration. Generally, family migration is a topic that started to receive increasing attention in the past decade. Researchers have investigated topics such as how marriage influences the likelihood of migrating (Mincer, 1978), who initiates migration in a family and what the influences of migration are on fertility (Kulu, 2005; Singley & Landale, 1998), union dissolution (Frank et al., 2005; Boyle et al., 2008) and spouse income and career (Boyle et al., 2001; Cooke, 2003; Cooke et al., 2009). The large variety of 'family5 types (cohabiting and same sex couples, single parent families) further complicates the topic of family migration.

This article focuses on migration as a demographic phenomenon influenced by, and influencing, family structure in Romania within the general East-European context. In an attempt to delimitate the reciprocal influences between family and migration in the context of Romanian emigration, I will approach 'family migration5 broadly so as to include individual migration events within the general context of family rather than the migration of the whole family unit (Cooke, 2008).

Characteristics of the East European emigration

Emigration from East-European countries has certain demographic and spatial characteristics, which make it unique among other types of migration. In terms of spatiality, although some East-Europeans migrate to Canada and the US, most of the East-European emigration is currently directed toward European Union countries (Anghel, 2013, Manflas, 1992; Kaczmarczyk & Okólski, 2008, Sandu, 2010) . This is mainly due to the travel facilities offered by citizenship and border regime in certain European countries, such as European Union and Schengen area. European Union has been built as an economic community promoting free trade and labour force circulation between member states. …

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