Day Two – Wednesday 26th June
Strand – Identity and Place
Session Six: 2.45pm – 4.15pm
The enlargement of the European Union over the last decade has facilitated an increase in labour mobility that has led to a number of rural areas experiencing significant in-migration by migrant workers from other member states. The arrival of migrant workers on either a short- or long-term basis in rural localities that frequently have had little previous history of immigration has presented challenges that have tested the resilience of both the recipient communities and the migrant workers themselves.
This paper draws on research on migrant workers in rural Wales undertaken by the Wales Rural Observatory in two studies, in 2006-07 and 2012-13, to examine how these dynamics have developed over the period since the accession of Central and Eastern European states to the EU in 2004 permitted the first substantial flow of migrant workers to the UK.
In particular, the paper discusses three expressions of resilience that have been part of the ‘story’ of the post-2004 migrants in rural Wales: firstly, the ‘resilience’ of public services, such as schools, in adapting to demands for increased provision and new language support; secondly, the ‘resilience’ of the migrants who have settled in rural Wales, and the strategies that they have adopted to integrate with local communities whilst maintaining their own identity; and thirdly, the contribution made by migrant workers to the social and economic ‘resilience’ of rural communities, especially through the economic recession.
By exploring these three different takes on ‘resilience’ the paper seeks to illuminate understanding of the role of international migration in the hybrid reconstitution of rural places in the emergent global countryside.
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