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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Reasons for Moving in Times of Crisis: The Motives Behind Migration of Highly-Skilled Spaniards to Berlin and London

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This article analyses the migration motives of highly-educated young adults in Berlin and London who left Spain in the wake of the economic crisis of 2008. We base our analysis on in-depth interviews and the Schützean concept of motive, which allows us to differentiate between the motives behind leaving Spain and the motives behind coming to the city of destination. Our results highlight that the young adults’ decisions to leave Spain were not only motivated by the grave labour market situation itself, but also by its consequences, such as being forced to live with their parents. Regarding the motives for coming, we present a typology of four migration projects in which we argue that even those motives that were previously considered non-economic, such as partnership, are also profoundly related to the economic crisis.

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