From the Ex USSR to Spain. New Paths of Migration in the New Century.

Monday, 16 July 2018: 11:30
Oral Presentation
Mercedes ALCANIZ, Universidad Jaume I, Spain
The fall of the Berlin Wall (1989) and the USSR (1991) prompted the start of an aggravated political and economic crisis for the countries that formed part of the so-called "Iron Curtain" in the final decade of the 20th century, and the beginning of a migration process to other countries by people seeking a higher quality of life. The purpose of the present text is focused on analyzing first, the increase of foreign people, specially those of the ex URSS, living in Spain since the start of the 21th siècle and second, the departure of individuals leaving those countries to live in Spain from the perspective of the emigrants. For the first goal we use a quantitative methodology analyzing official statistics and for the second goal, a qualitative methodology was employed, with life stories being judged the most appropriate technique. The results obtained point to the poor living conditions in their native countries as the fundamental reason behind making their "escape" as an individual/family strategy for building a better future, a decision that produced a major break in their biographies. On the other hand, in the destination country of Spain, the immigrants indicate their general satisfaction and subjective wellbeing. They acknowledge their quality of life has improved despite the devaluation of their human capital in holding jobs below their level of education and/or training, and allude to the process of re-signification of their identities in the context of their new daily life.