Migration in Latvia: global and local interactions

Zaiga Krisjane, University of Latvia
Maris Berzins

The aim of this paper is to describe, analyze and interpret the ongoing domestic and international migration processes taking place in the post-socialist realm following EU enlargement. The case of Latvia will be used as principal source of empirical substantiation. The European Union enlargement and its free labour market are one of the key factors influenced migration processes in Latvia. The migration processes face such social problems as comparatively high unemployment, lack of economic activity and demographic change, especially in peripheral rural areas and small towns. There are changes of traditional migration flow pattern as well as. Because many migrants previous from these areas went to larger cities then to capital for job. Nowadays they could go strait aboard for work. The results from different studies and surveys indicated that the current new migration flows and new types of migration. In the survey of the project “The Geographic Mobility of the Labour Force” (Project Nr. VPD1/ESF/NVA/04/NP/ commissioned by the European Social Fund and the Welfare Ministry of Latvia and carried out by University of Latvia) which 8,005 respondents were surveyed has been analysed reasons for migration. People who move from Latvia to another country (most often a member state of the EU which has opened up its labour market) usually do not declare a change in their permanent place of residence, and that has nothing to do with how long they are gone – a few months, a year or several years. What is more, these migrants may emigrate just once and permanently, or they can have only periodic employment abroad. The main manifestation of such migration is that people declare their residence in Latvia and keep that residence so that they have a place to return to.

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Presented in Session 60: International Migration and Migrant Populations