Migration, Development and Sharing Research on ‘Transnational’ Life

To what extent do migrants stay in touch with family and friends in their countries of origin? How do their experiences in destination countries influence their capacity and desire to stay involved with their homeland? What are the links between integration processes, transnational activities and return migration? These were among the questions of a workshop co-organized by UNU-Maastricht (UNU-MERIT / MGSoG) and Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) on 14 December 2011.

Speakers included Masja van Meeteren (EUR, Post Doc), who presented her research on how irregular migrants are involved in transnational activities. Her work adds value because the experiences of irregular migrants remain at the periphery of migration research, even though their precarious situation demands much more attention.

By contrast Marianne van Bochove (EUR) focused on migrants who are socioeconomically successful in Belgium and The Netherlands. Her innovative approach expands our understanding of transnationalism because she combines transnationalism literature with urban sociology literature to study the transnational activities and identifications of migrants.

Linda Bakker (EUR) then presented early results of her research into the integration of refugee groups from a transnational perspective based on the SING survey conducted among major refugee groups in The Netherlands. Linda has done a tremendous amount of work even though she is just at the beginning of her PhD research. Her project is promising and definitely one to follow, as it focuses on refugees’ transnational involvement, a subject that is only recently attracting more attention in The Netherlands.

Last but not least, representing UNU-Maastricht, I presented my paper on the compatibility between migrants’ integration processes in The Netherlands and their engagement in social and economic transnational activities, based on data we collected for the IS Academy, ‘Migration and Development: A World in Motion project’. I was very happy to receive many useful and constructive comments on my paper!

Beyond the workshop itself, Professor Godfried Engbersen (EUR) gave a lunchtime lecture on ‘Labour migration patterns among Central and Eastern European migrants’ and spoke with our migration coordinator Melissa Siegel in a brief video interview (see window above).

Özge BILGILI, PhD Researcher on Migration & Development, UNU-MERIT / Maastricht Graduate School of Governance

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