Prof. Tiit Tammaru, University of Tartu
Dr. David Manley, University of Bristol, UK
Whereas only 25 years ago emigration from Estonia was rather rare then nowadays moving to a foreign country for at least a short period has become quite common. This migration flow from Estonia, and from other Eastern and Central European countries, to Western Europe is called East-West migration. Although the opportunity to study, work and live abroad has several positive aspects the increasing emigration raises concerns for politicians and researchers in the countries of origin. As younger working age people have traditionally been more active in emigrating the main problems that emigration may cause for origin countries are brain drain, brain waste and shortage of labour. Therefore, this dissertation seeks answers to the following questions: what has been the extent of emigration from Estonia, how has Estonia's accession to the European Union changed emigration, who are the emigrants, do they leave for good or are there also temporary migrants and if so, then what affects return migration? As Finland has been overwhelmingly the most favourite destination country for Estonian emigrants, this dissertation studies more thoroughly Estonian emigrants in Finland, their migration patterns, their integration into Finnish society, remaining ties with Estonia and possible return migration intentions.
The poor quality of migration data worldwide complicates studies on international migration. Problems arise from the facts that countries often use different methods in recording migration data, emigrants often do not register their departure from the origin country and the increase of temporary migration has made defining who is a migrant and who is not more complicated. Therefore, in order to answer the questions raised in this dissertation both migration statistics and survey data, quantitative and qualitative methods have been used. The results of the dissertation contribute to the study of Estonian migration processes as well as to the literature on East-West migration.