Slow and fast chain migration

Chain migration is a phenomenon where immigrants to a country help facilitate the immigration of others from their home country. Here two examples: one with over a hundred years of development, the other occuring virtually overnight.

LONG TIME COMING: Filipino nurses in the United States

Many Filipino nurses have migrated to the United States over many years, with earlier waves of immigrants helping to facilitate the migration of others from the Philippines. These nurses have formed tight-knit communities in cities such as Los Angeles and New York. the comprise 4% of all nurses in the U.S. and over one quater of nurses who died due to COVID.

One analysis: “In the early 1900s, the U.S. set up nursing schools in the Philippines that taught an American curriculum in an effort to “civilize” the Philippines. Then, in 1948, just two years after the Philippines gained independence from the U.S., the U.S. created the Exchange Visitor Program, which allowed foreign professionals to come to the U.S. for two years to help spread American democracy across the world and fight Soviet propaganda. Many Filipino nurses, already trained in American-style nursing, came to the U.S. Then, in 1965, the Immigration and Nationality Act was passed, which allowed a larger number of immigrants from around the world to come to the U.S. There was a critical shortage of nurses following WWII and U.S. hospitals started advertising for Filipino nurses.”

FAST: Poles to the U.K.

Polish immigration for work in the United Kingdom surged after early in this century.  Many Polish immigrants to the United Kingdom came from the same regions of Poland, with earlier immigrants helping to facilitate the migration of others from their home region. These immigrants have formed tight-knit communities in cities such as London and Manchester.

Here is why. The Polish population in the U.K rose from under 100,000 in 2000 to over 600,000 in 2012.” n many respects the movement between Poland and the UK followed a common pattern in Western Europe in the second half of the 20th century. Examples include Italians to Switzerland in the 1950s and 1960s, Turks and Yugoslavs to Germany and Portuguese to the Netherlands in the 1960s and 1970s. [The very short term surge can be explained by] the right people in the right place under right circumstances. Right People: a boom in Poland of educated young people feeling very mobile. Right Place: easier to move from Poland to the UK and find low wage jobs in healthcare and food processing which UK workers did not like. Right Circumstances: The juncture of Poland’s accession to the EU (May 2004) with the decision taken by the UK government to grant immediate access to the British labour market. That other countries did not follow suit meant the lack of any strong competition from other receiving countries.”

Since Brexit there has been a large decline in the Polish population. According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of Polish-born people living in the UK decreased by 116,000 between 2018 and 2020, from 912,000 to 796,000. This is the largest decrease in the number of EU-born residents in the UK since records began. The Brexit vote was in 2016; its formal implementation in 2020.

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