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Centre of Migration Research

Izabela Grabowska, Godfried Engbersen, Arjen Leerkes, Eric Snel, Jack Burgers. 2013.

On the Differential Attachments of Migrants from Central and Eastern Europe: A Typology of Labour Migration


Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Volume 39, Number 6 | pages: 959-981



In this article we develop an empirically grounded typology of labour migration patterns among migrants from Central and Eastern Europe, based on two dimensions: attachment to the destination country and attachment to the country of origin. We conducted a survey (N=654) among labour migrants in the Netherlands from Poland, Bulgaria and Romania. We found four migration patterns in our data: (i) circular migrants (mostly seasonal workers) with weak attachments to the country of destination, (ii) bi-nationals with strong attachments to both the home country and that of destination, (iii) footloose migrants with weak attachments to both the home and the destination country, and (iv) settlers with weak attachments to the home country. Our findings demonstrate the relevance to the debate on transnationalism and integration of distinguishing different migration patterns. Successful integration in Dutch society can go hand-in-hand with ‘strong’ as well as with ‘weak’ forms of transnationalism. The bi-national pattern shows a tendency to strong transnationalism, while the settlement pattern demonstrates less transnational involvement with the country of origin.


Central and Eastern Europe; Integration; Labour Migration; The Netherlands; Transnationalism