From Porto to Portadown: Portuguese workers in Northern Ireland's labour market

Martin Eaton

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    While North-Western Europe remains the principal destination for Portugueseemigrants, post-millennium flow has seen the United Kingdom (UK) and NorthernIreland (NI), in particular, emerging as a focal point. As part of a changinglabour market demand and supply process, several thousand migrants have nowbeen recruited by agencies to work in the region’s rurally based food processingindustries. This article quantifies the resurgence of Portuguese emigration trails,explores their recent distribution patterns, and evaluates the role of employmentintermediaries in facilitating the flow. Using qualitative discursive techniques theexperiences of these players are examined before determining their impacts on thelocal labour market. Results show that benefits have been brought to a number oflocalised economies suffering from shortages and working patterns based on substitutionand segmentation have been fundamentally altered. At the same time,some small towns have struggled to adapt to this influx and concerns have beenraised in relation to work-based problems and the pace of developmental changeassociated with the growing numbers of Portuguese emigrants in NorthernIreland.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)171-191
    JournalPortuguese Journal of Social Science
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2007

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