Labour Market and Social Integration of Eastern European Migrants in Scotland and Portugal

Heather Dickey, Stephen Drinkwater, Sergei Shubin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
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This article investigates the factors influencing the labour market performance and social integration of Eastern European migrants in two regions within Scotland and Portugal. Given the potential links between these outcomes, measures of labour market success and integration into the host community are examined from a multi-dimensional perspective, including by modelling these jointly within a statistical framework. The main findings indicate the importance of a range of factors for labour market and social integration, which change with time and cannot be limited to any definable set of goals. In particular, proficiency in the host country’s language plays a key role in obtaining a highly paid job and social integration, but not for the probability of employment. Further, maintaining family links and cultural identity often outweigh the importance of being integrated into host communities. Other human capital factors, especially whether the job matches skills and qualifications, strongly influence some labour market outcomes, whilst migrant network variables are important for integration more widely. Focus on the immediate earnings and having a job tends to be prioritised over career progression, which can lead to better integration. Drawing on the insights from economics and human geography, this paper stresses that these findings hold both in the separate and joint modelling approaches. The effect of the influences is also found to be generally similar in Scotland and Portugal. However, some significant differences are detected between the host communities with regards to the impact of previous migration and friendship on social integration and age on employment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1250-1268
Number of pages19
JournalEnvironment and Planning A
Issue number6
Early online date5 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2018

Bibliographical note

We acknowledge the funding provided for this research by the University of Aberdeen and the British Council. We would also like to thank Denis Zuev at ISCTE-IUL for data collection in Portugal; Mindaugas Zaleckas, Katie MacLean, Małgorzata Cudak, Katarzyna Maziarka, Alison Sandison, and all of the Eastern European migrants who gave their time to work with us and support this research.


  • Labour markets
  • Integration
  • Eastern European migrants


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