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Conference: Promoting Work-related Immigration and Spreading Good Practices in the EU.

logo euReport from the REKRY- AMARE conference at the Center for Migration Studies in Poznań:

Dr. Magdalena Ziółek-Skrzypczak Center for Migration Studies (CeBaM) Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań


On October 4, 2011 in Collegium Minus of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (AMU) an international conference took place under the banner: Promoting Work-related Immigration and Spreading Good Practices in the EU. The conference was organized by the Center for Migration Studies (CeBaM) at AMU within the Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology as a part of the European project REKRY-AMARE1. The project is coordinated by the University of Helsinki, Palmenia Center for Continuing Education, Lahti, which in cooperation with partner institutions from Finland and other EU-countries (Estonia, Germany, Ireland, Poland, and the United Kingdom) as well as with China and Russia aims to find common good practices for supporting highly educated people to integrate into the local labor market. CeBaM as the only Polish partner coordinates project actions on the territory of Poland.

The project is based on an exchange of experiences between the partners, discussing themes such as the history of emigration and immigration in their respective countries and local integration activities aiding the successful functioning of the system for recruiting immigrants according to the needs of the labor market (e.g. regulations on foreigners' access to local labor markets; the organization of recruitment, intercultural training, language courses, etc.)

In the face of the demographic downturn and pending needs for highly qualified work force in some sectors of the economy and public services in a number of the EU countries, the ongoing joint seminars organized by REKRY-AMARE partners during the time of the project duration (2010-2013) constitute an important international discussion platform on the role of immigrants in the economic and demographic stability of the European Union.

The meeting in October in Poznań featured over 35 participants from both Poland and abroad who in their either academic, administrative or practical work deal with the issues of labor market and immigrant integration. By the same token, the organizers managed to bring researchers together with administrators and civic integration stakeholders to discuss together migration challenges in Poland and in the EU presented in four themed sessions:
1) Polish High-Skilled Immigrants Abroad;
2) Recruitment Models for Migrant Workers;
3) Diversity of Immigration in Poland;
4) Local Dimension of Immigrant Integration in Poland.

At the same time, the conference proved a good platform of information about the activities of a fairly new Center for Migration Studies in Poznań (established in 2009) as well as integrative measures for cooperation of Polish migration research groups.

The conference was opened with a welcoming speech of Prof. Jacek Witkoś, Vice-Rector for Research and International Cooperation of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, who praised the development of international dialog on migration issues at the headquarters of AMU. He was followed by the introductory words into the conference and CeBaM's activities by Prof. Michal Buchowski, the director of CeBaM. As he pointed out, the interdisciplinary academic Center gathers researchers from four faculties at AMU. CeBaM's members conduct mostly qualitative in-depth studies based on ethnographic methods, which provides not only top-down but also bottom-up perspectives on the issues of migration. Three primary aims and objectives of CeBaM were presented: 1) the conceptualization of the most essential research themes concerning migration and attitudes toward "the others" from Central and Eastern European perspectives (e.g. tolerance, multiculturalism, discrimination, exclusion and inclusion); 2) identifying, mapping, studying, and analyzing migration related phenomena regarding both immigrants and the host society, and in the near also so called Euro-orphans (that is Polish children left by their parents working abroad) and finally 3) outreach activities and contacts with local authorities, administrators and institutions that on daily basis deal with migration issues in order to establish future local welcoming and consulting centers for immigrants. Transnational cooperation within these objectives is vivid in a number of projects of CeBaM.

Afterwards, Dr. Mattias Spies, the coordinator of REKRY-AMARE from Palmenia Center for Continuing Education at the University of Helsinki in Lahti, presented migration situation in Finland (with 3% foreigners out of the whole population an their astonishing unemployment rate of 25% in comparison to 8% of the whole population in 2010), focusing on a growing need for labor force and increasing recruitment difficulties in the country. As the Finnish coordinator emphasized, the main aim of the project is to find an adequate answer to the questions whether or not Finland needs systematically organised and steered labour immigration, considering the particularities in the three project areas in southern Finland (Kymenlaakso, Päijät-Häme, Kanta-Häme): 1) What and where are the needs for foreign labor? 2) How can labor immigration be supported efficiently under the local and regional circumstances? 3) How can these regions become more attractive for labour immigrants? An exchange of experiences and good-practice with Poland and other international partners should encourage mutual learning and result in constructive responses to the abovementioned challenges.

The following part of the conference on migration and integration from Polish perspectives began with an opening lecture by Prof. Marek Okólski from the University of Warsaw. In his speech Prof. Okólski focused on labor migration from and to Poland after WW II until now in the light of Polish and international political and research agendas on migration and the development of research of the Center of Migration Research in Warsaw. His analysis ranged from the phenomenon of Polish "incomplete migration" from the late 1970s through a predominance of "crowding-out migration" after Poland's accession to the EU towards a new phenomenon of "fluid migration" emerging from recent inflows of the foreign nationals to Poland. Accordingly, these different migratory patterns have resulted in various research interests and sometimes biased studies without continuity and cross-references among each other. Nevertheless, the emergence of a stable and interdisciplinary community of Polish researchers specialising in migration and ethnic studies should be regarded as a great achievement and promising for overcoming the aforementioned deficiencies in Polish migration research.

The following speaker Dr. Barbara Madaj from the University College London and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine opened the first thematic session, which was dedicated to Polish high-skilled immigrants abroad. Dr. Madaj examined the migration of Polish medical doctors in the aftermath of the 2004 European Union enlargement with a special focus on the United Kingdom – a country with an established presence of international healthcare staff with over a third of all registered doctors and one of the top countries attracting Polish medical professionals. She was followed by Dr. Izabela Wagner from the Institute of Sociology at the University of Warsaw, who presented the results of her ethnographical study on the process of internationalization of life-science research environments and integration of foreign scientists in French, Polish, and US laboratories. The session was concluded with a lecture The Economics of Brain Drain delivered by Dr. Jan Brzozowski from the Cracow University of Economics. Focusing on the economic debate on skilled migration since the 1960s, he explored the development of international rhetoric on brain drain: from its detrimental effects, especially for the sending economies through the proposals of "Bhagwati Tax" (Bhagwati, 1976) towards a so called "new economics of brain drain" from mid 1990s which turned public attention to positive aspects of highly skilled emigration. Beneficial Brain Drain (BBD) model was further analyzed through the prism of Polish "brain overflow", that is the outflow of tertiary education graduates, caused by limited demand for skilled labor on the national labor market.

The next session was devoted to practical aspects of managing migration of highly skilled emigration in Poland from the perspectives of both state and private recruitment agencies. First, Tomasz Dobroczyński, MA, from the state Voivodeship Labor Office in Poznań presented the international recruitment projects run by the Office since the very beginning of the European Employment Services EURES in Poland in 2004. The projects with countries like Ireland, UK, Denmark, Spain and Italy concerned mostly doctors of different specialties, nurses and midwives, dentists, engineers, financiers and other technical staff from IT and industry area. As these experiences showed, public employment services are in constant need of newer approaches to the recruitment process, such as interviews through the internet, participation in branch fairs and advertising vacancies in places and media targeting the groups of interest. The next speaker Anna Stradza, MA, from a private Recruitment Agency Promedica24 in Warsaw presented more detailed information about the recruitment procedures of their clients: doctors, nurses and allied health professionals in relation to some common challenges. Most of the challenges which the company faces refer to recognition of qualifications, fluent language skills, and doubts and fears of candidates about a future new place, such as location, possibilities of low-cost travel to Poland, accommodation, range of duties or ways of payment).

The third panel was focused on the situation of immigrants in Poland. First, Dr. Aneta Piekut from the University of Leeds and the University of Warsaw presented the findings from her in-depth interviews with highly skilled foreigners working in transnational corporations in Warsaw and the investigation of their social relations in the host country. She introduced an ideal type of social adaptation strategies that serves as a qualitative measuring tool in the process of exploring similarities and differences among adaptation of immigrants of different global and local labor market experience. In the next speech, Karolina Sydow, MA, from the Center for Migration Studies, presented the results of her research on a group of immigrant-professionals living in Poznań, which consisted mainly of contract employees working for large and medium-sized companies. She explored common social relations of this group with the host society and a number of common characteristics other than only similar qualifications and occupational status. The session was concluded by Agnieszka Kosowicz, MA, from a Polish NGO Polish Migration Forum, She presented a comprehensive picture of the situation of various groups of immigrants in Poland (i.e. asylum seekers, refugees, foreign students, labor migrant and highly skilled immigrants), focusing on their integration challenges in reference to Abraham Maslow's pyramid of hierarchy of human motivation (hierarchy of needs). Drawing on a wide experience of non-governmental sector in Poland in assisting immigrants, Kosowicz criticized the lack of adequate Polish migration and integration strategy which could bridge existing policy with real practical needs for integration of immigrants with Polish host society.

The final session dealt with a local dimension of immigrant integration in Poland, focusing on local integration projects of two cities Wrocław and the conference host Poznań. First, Dr. Patrycja Matusz-Protasiewicz from the University of Wrocław outlined the objectives and working methods of the European Network of Cities for Local Integration Policies for Migrants (CLIP), of which the University of Wrocław is the only Polish partner. She elaborated on the project work and its challenges in the city within four CLIP research modules referring to the integration of migrants and the role of local authorities in the following fields: housing, equality and diversity policies, intercultural policies and inter-group relations, and ethnic entrepreneurship. The last presentation by Wojciech Bauer, MA, from the Poznań Municipality focused on the achievements of the city within OPENCities, an international British Council project. The main aim of the project is to identify what makes cities attractive to international populations and to create local practical strategies including three main themes: internationalization of the city, inclusion and integration in the city, and finally leadership and governance. Bauer elaborated on the Local Action Plan in relation to these fields which was prepared by the city in cooperation with Local Support Group - representatives of many public, non-public institutions foreigners, NGO, and Poznań citizens.

The official part of the conference was followed by an internal meeting of the Polish migration research groups who in a two-hour session discussed future common goals and further plans of integration of Polish migration studies. Although the manifold program of this one-day conference provided only limited time for debates, the meeting have stimulated more intense cooperation between both international and Polish participants on the issues of labor market, migration and integration.

In fact, there are many crucial and topical aspects of work-related migration which require more intensive analysis and exchange of research and good practices. In the face of global development and the economic crisis, immigrants are a major area of interest in economics. As the freedom of movement and demographic gaps between regions increases, two parallel trends in the world labor market dynamics are noticed: the decline in the demand for unskilled labor and the rising importance of human capital in the production of goods and services. However, it is important to bear in mind ethical issues concerning plans for recruitment of foreign workers: their integration challenges, consequences of brain drain, and also forgotten potentials of those immigrants in the host countries who haven't had any opportunity so far to demonstrate their qualifications. It is only hoped that Swiss novelist Max Frisch's famous expression "we asked for workers but instead human beings came" will not be relevant to the European policies anymore. In fact, conferences like the one in Poznań may become a good awareness raising tool for both researchers and practitioners.

Download the conference

-  programmepdf

- photospdf

Media on the conference:

Biuletyn Migracyjny, 31/2011, s.11:

Życie Uniwersyteckie, 9/2011, s. 4:

REKRY-AMARE webside on the conference:

Abstracts and Power Point presentations:

Wojciech BAUER pdf abstract
pdf prezentation 1.48 MB
Jan BRZOZOWSKI pdf abstract pdf prezentation 127.42 KB
Tomasz DOBROCZYŃSKI   pdf prezentation 111.06 KB
Agnieszka KOSOWICZ pdf abstract pdf prezentation 2.96 MB
Barbara MADAJ pdf abstract pdf prezentation 543.75 KB
Patrycja MATUSZ-PROTASIEWICZ   pdf prezentation 149.88 KB
Aneta PIEKUT pdfabstract pdf prezentation 138.57 KB
Mattias SPIES   pdf prezentation 543.31 KB
Anna STRADZA   pdf prezentation 380.83 KB
Karolina SYDOW pdf abstract  
Izabela WAGNER pdf abstract pdf prezentation 2.75 MB


REKRY is a shorter version of a Finnish word "rekrytointi" - "recruitment" in English. AMARE is a brand name of the services for skilled immigrants in Finland and comes from words "Akateemisten Maahanmuuttajien Resurssikeskus" (i.e. The Resource Center for Skilled· Immigrants). AMARE has become an umbrella project under which other AMARE-projects, such as REKRY-AMARE, have been implemented by the Palmenia Center for Continuing Education at the University of Helsinki. See the website: http://www.amareinfo.fi/