Filed under: Human rights and rule of law Migration and remittances Roma Social inclusion

Nowadays, migration is a regular part of our lives.

Migration, in fact, launched the whole process of sustained attention to the issue of Roma exclusion in the European Union.

  • But is Roma migration really as huge as it’s portrayed by the media?

  • What are the main reasons for Roma to migrate and do they fulfill their expectations?

  • Are the reasons that Roma migrate abroad different from the reasons of non-Roma who also migrate?

  • What are the most frequently chosen destinations?

  • What are the typical profiles of Roma and non-Roma migrants?

  • What is the life of Roma immigrants in the receiving countries?

A recently published paper by Stoyanka Cherkezova and Iona Tomova tries to respond to these questions.

Migration is a complex issue and it is not easy to capture it with just one instrument. Therefore, the authors used a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods in this research. They analyzed data from:

  1. A 2011 survey carried out by the World Bank, the European Commission and UNDP. (UNDP/WB/EC Regional Roma Survey 2011)

  2. Data on Roma migrants to France and Italy from a 2011 survey carried out by the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA)

  3. Data from the qualitative research among the Roma migrants living in two cities in Belgium

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 paper is published as part of the Roma Inclusion Working Papers series started in 2012.

Migration of Roma and Non-Roma from Central and Eastern Europe by UNDP in Europe and Central Asia

The following thematic papers were already released:

Resources based on data from the survey:

The results from the UNDP / World Bank / European Commission survey were released online, as a publically available presentation and data sets.

>> More about Roma in Central and Southeast Europe

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  • peter jorna

    Once more #UNDP shows: researching #Roma and #migration can combine facts based & qualitative & ethic methods (@PeterMJorna)