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The global financial crisis and migration: the experience of Irish graduates

Simon Stephens (School of Business, Letterkenny Institute of Technology, Letterkenny, Ireland)

Journal of Global Mobility

ISSN: 2049-8799

Article publication date: 9 March 2015




The purpose of this paper is to identify a group of Irish graduates who decided to emigrate following the global financial crash of 2008. The paper explores how the economic crisis in Ireland (2008-2014) framed the experience of this group of migrants. Specifically, the paper examines the push/pull factors leading to migration; the experience of the graduate migrants in the host country; and decisions regarding repatriation.


This paper adopts a qualitative approach to study the experiences of graduates. The paper utilises narrative structuring to provide an enhanced understanding of the migration experience of the graduates.


The data collected during depth interviews indicates a mixed experience. There are a wide range of push/pull factors that result in migration. However, the range of push/pull factors that might result in repatriation are blurred by: personal experiences in the host country, changing family circumstances and the performance of the economy in Ireland.

Practical implications

This research highlights complex patterns of graduate mobility which reflect the multifaceted push/pull factors shaping graduate movements. Economic conditions drive migration but they also frame the migrant experience in the host country and repatriation decisions.


A review of the literature indicates that most of the empirical studies on the experience of graduates are quantitative. This paper argues other softer outcomes must also be studied to help fully understand the experiences of graduates.



The author wishes to acknowledge the significant contribution of the reviewers and the editorial team.


Stephens, S. (2015), "The global financial crisis and migration: the experience of Irish graduates", Journal of Global Mobility, Vol. 3 No. 1, pp. 83-99.



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