An option of last resort? Migration of Roma and non-Roma from CEE countries

The authors of the recently published UNDP paper "An option of last resort? Migration of Roma and non-Roma from CEE countries" used a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods for breaking the myths about Roma migration.

There are many myths about Roma migrants, which result from portraying the improper behaviour of a small minority of Roma migrants as typical. Migration as such is a complex issue and it is not easy to capture it with just one instrument.   

The researchers found that the reasons for Roma migration do not differ from those of non-Roma: Poverty, lack of jobs and desire for a better life. The profiles of Roma migrants are also on average, not so different from the profiles of non-Roma migrants. Although poverty was mentioned often as a reason to go abroad, migration requires certain personal capacity (including financial capacity). Research showed that potential migrants are not the poorest among the Roma, but those with some income to start a new life.

The report authors conclude that there are many myths about Roma migrants, which result from portraying the improper behaviour of a small minority of Roma migrants as typical. The research reveals a different picture: The majority of Roma migrants seek work – if possible – a legal and secure job. Many of them fear deportation and therefore do not seek social services. Cases of welfare system abuse presented in the media represent only a small portion of Roma migrants and should not be used for general conclusions about Roma migration.

The study shows that Roma migration could also have a positive impact on the receiving countries' economies, although this fact is often neglected in the mainstream media.

This publication has been published as part of the UNDP’s Roma Inclusion Working Papers series and uses the data from the UNDP/WB/EC Regional Roma Survey 2011 along with selected data from the FRA Roma Pilot Survey 2011 complemented with the qualitative research among the Roma migrants to Belgium.

More information available at http://europeandcis.undp.org/blog/2014/01/14/roma-migration-an-option-of-last-resort