Motivation and trajectories: a study of Polish migrants in Cardiff
The aim of this thesis is to understand how the actions and the motivations of the Polish migrants who entered the United Kingdom post-2004 have evolved throughout their migration period using the concept of migration trajectories. The existing literature on Polish migrants in the United Kingdom after enlargement points to these migrants being solely economic actors, relying on their economic motivations to dictate their actions throughout their entire migration. Using data collected in 2008 and 2011 in Cardiff, Wales, this thesis seeks to highlight the range of complex motivations held by Polish migrants over time. As the data collection period coincided with the global recession, the impact of the recession on the migrants’ motivations was also taken into account. Five trajectories were created from the sample of migrant respondents focusing on various phases of the migration period including the migrants’ experience in the labour market, the migrants’ use of social networks and the migrants’ future plans. Trajectories are a valuable aid to an in-depth account of the evolution of the migrants’ motivations and actions throughout their migration period. In summary, the migrants in the sample have a variety of motivations to stay in the destination country longer than what they initially expected. With caveats, these findings can be generalised to the wider population of post-2004 Poles in Cardiff and in other cities in the UK. Due to the continuous enlargement of the European Union, the findings from this thesis have implications for future national and supranational migration policy.