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Between Opportunity and Constraint: Understanding the Onward Migration of Highly Educated Iranian Refugees from Sweden
Univ Free State, Dept Sociol, POB 339, ZA-9300 Bloemfontein, South Africa.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute for Housing and Urban Research. Delft Univ Technol, OTB Res Built Environm, Fac Architecture & Built Environm, NL-2600 GA Delft, Netherlands.
2016 (English)In: Journal of International Migration and Integration, ISSN 1488-3473, E-ISSN 1874-6365, Vol. 17, no 3, 649-667 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In the 1980s and early 1990s, more than 50,000 Iranian refugees moved to Sweden. The Swedish state attended to their immediate needs, providing housing, language training, and other types of support. Moreover, these migrants had almost immediate access to all the benefits of the Swedish welfare state including affordable healthcare, unemployment insurance, and free education up to and including the tertiary level. Despite the opportunities available to them in Sweden, many Iranian refugees have faced challenges, especially when trying to secure meaningful work. One of the strategies they have used to overcome barriers to entering the labor market is to leave Sweden for onward destinations which are seen as having relatively more to offer. This study explores the onward migration of Iranians from Sweden by way of a two-step mixed methods approach: in the first step, population register data is used to determine how onward migrants differ from those Iranians who stay in Sweden. In the second step, information from life history interviews conducted with onward migrants in London and Toronto is used to understand what motivates individuals to leave Sweden. Overall, the study finds that highly educated Iranians who have struggled to find employment in Sweden are the most likely to move on. Their precise motivations for doing so, however, are nuanced and complex and relate to more than just economic factors.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Netherlands, 2016. Vol. 17, no 3, 649-667 p.
Keyword [en]
Iranian refugees; Onward migration; Structure and agency; Mixed methods; Labor market integration; Sweden
National Category
Human Geography
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-269827DOI: 10.1007/s12134-015-0422-4ISI: 000379772300001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-269827DiVA: diva2:885268
Available from: 2015-12-18 Created: 2015-12-18 Last updated: 2016-08-23Bibliographically approved

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