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The immigration patterns

Updated: Jan 8, 2019

A research was conducted in the framework of the FAIDRA project, including literature review, statistical analysis and interviews with members of the immigrant communities and members of the families stat stayed behind. The research was centred on the immigration waves after the year 1990 and the fall of communist regimes in Eastern European countries, focusing on the immigration from Bulgaria to Greece, Romania to Italy and Poland to Sweden. It examined the profile of the immigrants and immigration patterns, and produced real stories from both ends of the family (immigrant and family members who stayed behind) through the interviews conducted.

The map of Europe presented below outlines the EU member states at the time in red, and with different colours (blue, yellow, green) the later expansions of the EU to the East.



Bulgaria to Greece

The immigration from Bulgaria to neighbouring Greece had a gender: feminine. The massive migration of Albanian male workers into Greece in previous years, meant that there was no longer a demand for male unskilled workforce; however there was a great demand for women who would work in low income jobs in elderly care, childcare and cleaning.


The first wave of Bulgarian immigrants were in their majority educated, having worked as civil servants or educators in Bulgaria. The mothers and daughters who came to Greece worked to support their families in Bulgaria.

Most Bulgarian immigrants were slowly integrated into the Greek society, especially after overcoming the enormous language barrier.



Poland to Sweden

Contrary to the Bulgarian-Greece migration, the great majority of Poles who migrated to Sweden were men, leaving their families back in Poland under the care of the mother. They would work and support their families back home, returning once or twice a year to be with their families in holidays.



The Polish immigrants rarely made any effort to integrate to the Swedish society. They did not learn the language and rarely brought their family with them. The predominant social expectation for men was to be the breadwinner.





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