Exploring the impact of transnational social fields upon migrants’ job seeking strategies

Bianca-Elena Mihaila, Marian-Gabriel Hancean

Contact: bianca.mihaila@icub.unibuc.ro

It has already been shown that networks are central in the process of migrants’ finding a job in destination places. Some claim that information on job opportunities are available through migrants’ interpersonal ties. However, its circulation is not random but affected by various network-related factors and covariates. In this oral communication, we explore the impact of transnational social fields (networks embedding migrants as well as returnees and non-migrants - TSF) upon the strategies developed by migrants in their struggle to find a job in the destination, before or after arrival. Interconnecting the personal networks of 303 Romanians migrants in Spain (Castellón) as well as of their social contacts in the origin country (Romania, Dâmboviţa), we build a TSF with 4,855 nodes, 5,477 directed ties (nominations) and 2,540 edges. Descriptive statistics are explored and an exponential random graph model is fit to data retrieved from this TSF to assess socio-economic status as well as other micro-level determinants of migrants’ interactions. The results seem to indicate that ties within the TSF are patterned as an effect of various forms of differential homophily: geographical proximity, sex and education. In addition, we provide evidence that the TSF is organized in multi-layered strata based on socio-economic status: people of the same category tend to interact with others in the same category. In the light of these findings, we discuss the implications of prospective migrants being connected to people established in the destination places and working in the same industry. This might be indicative of a possible successful strategy of finding a job at the destination, prior arrival. Our research adheres to the emergent literature mixing social network analysis and migration studies. At the same time, we contribute to the efforts of increasing the knowledge about migrants’ job-seeking strategies.

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