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Young Adult Mobility Options and Alternatives in Times of Economic Crisis

The YAMEC Network aims to bring together researchers and other stakeholders to analyse new emergent mobility flows, options and survival strategies influenced by the current economic hardships the European continent finds itself struggling with. The current state of recession has lead many young Europeans to take up a variety mobility strategies, in some cases, determined by the search for gainful employment in the profession they were trained in; in others aiming to settle in places where they are able to reduce the cost of living, this by living a more sustainable lifestyle as is the case of urban to rural migration strategy where a ‘back to the land’ strategy is adopted. Among these mobile individuals, we do not refer exclusively to first time migrants who never imagined upon completing their university degree, for example, that they would have to search beyond the borders of their countries to find the life they desire. We are also interested in twice migrants (those who migrated to a first country but are ‘forced’ to migrate again to a second country due to factors related to the economic crisis or simply for better job market opportunities), as well as descendants of migrants (be them the sons and daughters of first generation migrants who are pressed to move to another country for the sake of their well-being, or emigrant descendant returnees who return to the ancestral homeland only to have to return to the country they returned from or to another).


The Network further intends to observe the impact of new incoming migrants in the countries and regions where young individuals are relocating to. This includes observing the construction of new communities and migration networks. Within this scope, essential to such an analysis would also be ‘the warmth-of-the-welcome’ on the part of the host society as well as processes of integration. For migrants settling in rural areas, it is key to consider the impact of these new settlers on the communities and landscape. In relation to the settlers themselves, we take into consideration such variables as community clustering in loco, as well as the use of modern technological means as a tool of proximity with the homeland, with urban centres or simply as a means of shortening distances. It’s a matter of fact that young adult individuals and families are now opting for new lives in rural areas or peripheral regions, away from major urban centres, in order to survive cuts in wages and welfares provisions knowing that they now have the option of working at a distance with the aid of modern technologies: internet, skype, etc.


Thirdly, the YAMEC Network take into consideration the impact of possible ‘brain drains’ in countries where the labour market cannot sustain the supply of qualified individuals, and, on the opposite end of that equation, the benefits of a ‘brain gain’ in the case of societies where there is a shortage of qualifies labours to take up positions in the labour market. We take the example of Europeans who are fleeing to Africa and South America where they can not only find greater work opportunities but where they can reduce their costs of living as well. Lastly, we consider the politics of migration and mobility, including the politically-motivated decisions and outcomes, as well as political discourses that may influence or encourage mobility of young people, be it from a sending or receiving perspective.


Against this backdrop, the goal is to take on the challenge of discerning what are the impacts of the current economic crisis, how does the hardest hit population – that of young adults – cope and react to current economic hardships, and how are national policies reacting.


The project thus adopts a broad perspective on the impact of the economic crisis, aiming to focus on issues such as:

  • Who are the crisis-influenced young adult migrants (taking into consideration such possible variables as: labour market sectors and skill levels, legal status and visa categories, length of stay, gender, country of origin and destination, among others)?

  • What is the composition and profile of migration stocks and flows?

  • What is the profile of young adult migrants?

  • What countries/regions do they opt to move to or not and what factors are at play in the decision making process?

  • What are the policy responses at the national level in relation to specific migration contexts of each (integration measures and anti-xenophobia/anti-discrimination measures; return projects; political restrictions, among others)?

  • How have politics influenced mobility options?

  • What impact do these mobilities have on the sending and receiving countries/regions (remittance flows and uses; return migration; public opinion on the impact of the crisis and migration; level of social protection and access to benefits)?

  • What roles do modern technologies play in these processes?

  • What do the current crisis-influenced migrants plan to do in the future mobility-wise?

  • Never before migrants, twice migrants, migrant descendants – how do these different groups respond to worsening labour market conditions and what mobility options are available to them?

  • What are the roles of networks and social capital in the mobility option and forms of integration in the new environment?

  • How does mobility alter lifestyles? How do lifestyle options influence mobilities?

  • What will or might happen during recovery (demography, inflows, public opinion)?


Research Initiative of
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