Lifestyle and Economic Migration

New Life Exit

Recent comments by Minister Michael Noonan regarding lifestyle migration have caused controversy in an Ireland, which, due to current economic problems, once again faces widespread emigration for economic reasons. Minister Noonan’s comments related to his personal family experience, with regards to his own children having
emigrated of their own choice, which, in academic research is referred to as
‘self-initiated expatriation’. My PhD research focused specifically on the
identity and career construction of self initiated expatriates, in my case,
those from Western countries that relocated to the South of France while
maintaining paid employment (that is, did not relocate for retirement purposes
or due to financial independence). I have published* on this phenomenom recently,
relating it to the Irish context. There is no doubting the reality of voluntary
migration for lifestyle reasons. However, this differs significantly from
involuntary migration, which is what numerous men, women and families are
currently experiencing in an Ireland with diminishing employment and, yes,
‘lifestyle’ prospects.

There is ongoing academic debate concerning migration and the typology
of migrants, ranging from self-initiated expatriates to refugees. In this
debate the different motivation for international mobility, comparisons between
the home and host countries at the macro level, experiences in the host country
at the meso and micro level, and chances of repatriation to the home country,
are among the topics researched.

*Crowley-Henry, M (2010) 21st Century International Careers: From Economic to Lifestyle Migration. In Hogan, J, Donnelly, P and O Rourke, B (eds) Irish Business & Society. Governing, Participating & Transforming in the 21st Century. Dublin, Ireland: Gill & Macmillan, ISBN 978-0-7171-4990-2.