Exploratory Study of the New Migration Stream from the Former Soviet Union to Ireland

Sofya Aptekar, Princeton University

Ireland has been transformed from a country of emigration to a country of immigration in the span of a decade, with more than one in ten residents born outside of Ireland today. In 2005, Ireland opened its borders to the new EU states, allowing citizens of these countries to work in Ireland without restrictions. Sociological research has lagged in addressing this dramatic transformation, aside from some quantitative studies that rely on notoriously flawed data collected by four separate Irish government agencies. This paper presents results of an exploratory qualitative study of a large segment of the new immigration stream, Russian-speakers from the former Soviet Union. It will delineate a typology of migrants, discuss emerging themes, and contextualize the migration process in the unique situations in both Ireland and sending countries. Special attention will be given to the role of ethno-political regimes in the sending countries where Russian-speakers are marginalized minorities.

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Presented in Poster Session 5