Growing Gap While Growing Grey: Ageing Non-EU Migrants' Social Networks and Economic Well-Being

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 16:45
Location: Hörsaal I (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Jonnabelle ASIS, University of Brescia, Italy
While migration studies on ageing countries in Western Europe and North America abound, the recognition that the migrant population itself is ageing and studies that focus on ageing migrants are relatively recent. As a recent immigration country, Italy’s first generation migrants are now entering their old age. These are mostly economic migrants who came to Italy in their early working years or some who decided to work abroad or join their families late in life.

This research explores the economic dimension of well-being in terms work trajectories and (the lack of) pension eligibility. The disadvantaged state that ageing non-EU migrants occupy is especially salient given the characteristic of Italian labour market: highly segmented and large informal economy. Using a social network approach, the research investigates the extent to which personal networks promote or constrain economic well-being. Differences in the composition of the job search network and social support network across non-EU migrants from different countries will also be analyzed and its implications to the outcomes.

The retrospective longitudinal data comes from face-to-face egocentric network surveys and qualitative interviews of 105 non-EU migrants, 50 years old and above, and residing in Brescia. Brescia is an important field site since it is one of the Italian cities which has a good number and diversity of migrants, ranking fourth in terms of the number of migrants, after Rome, Milan, and Torino. While the social network component captures the respondent’s job search history and persons who helped them land the job throughout their working life, as well as their social support network, the thematic analysis of the narratives will provide context and insights regarding the ageing non-EU migrants’ (changing) migration project(s), circumstances surrounding network formation and maintenance, work experience and satisfaction, and reflections as they near their retirement/old-age.