• BETWEEN CONTINUITY AND CHANGE: EXPLORING POLISH MIGRANTS' EXPERIENCES IN THE LABOR MARKET OF BERLIN, GERMANY

      Chakravorty, Sanjoy; Adams, Carolyn Teich; Cybriwsky, Roman A.; Deeg, Richard, 1961- (Temple University. Libraries, 2015)
      The European migration context has changed drastically in recent years because of the eastward enlargements of the European Union (EU) in 2004 and 2007. Almost all citizens of the 28 EU member states now have the right to live and work in any of the other EU countries. The demise of borders and removal of formal labor market access restrictions within the EU has spurred substantial east to west migration. This dissertation explored how recent and more established Polish migrants experience and navigate the labor market in Berlin, Germany, given these recent regulatory changes. The study focused in particular on the role of Polish migrants' social ties as well as regulatory and institutional factors. The research involved six months of fieldwork in Berlin that resulted in 44 in-depth interviews with Polish migrants and key informants. The interviews not only gave insights into how Polish migrants integrate into Berlin's labor market but also shed light on the reasons for their migration and various other aspects of their lives. The most striking finding of the study is that Poles have not formed a cohesive community in the city and commonly experience co-ethnic social ties as a "social tax", rather than sources of social capital. The study suggests that a number of national policies as well as Berlin's geographic proximity help explain the absence of a unified and supportive Polish community in the city. Another key finding of the study is that Polish migrants are commonly channeled into irregular, precarious and even exploitive work arrangements in Berlin, especially in the domestic service, hospitality and construction sector. They continue to face a range of informal barriers that push many of them into the margins of Berlin's labor market, despite the abolishment of formal labor market access restrictions.