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Education and Migration: The (Non)Return of Better Educated Migrants to Bulgaria

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  • Maria Bakalova

Abstract

The article discusses the connection between education and re-migration with a focus on the return to Bulgaria of highly educated migrants, and especially those who have been educated abroad. The underlying hypothesis is that in the absence of specific personal or family reasons or clear economic motives, the return of highly educated migrants, and especially those who received education abroad, back to Bulgaria is due to the inability to find the realisation of their education abroad. Furthermore, the integration of returnees who have graduated abroad on the Bulgarian labour market is not without problems. The hypothesis is tested against qualitative and quantitative data from a 2017 national survey and 100 in-depth interviews with Bulgarian returnees. The analysis of the data reveals that the return of highly educated migrants back to Bulgaria is rather an exception in the overall picture of return, especially when it comes to migrants who have received their education abroad. Upon the return of highly educated remigrants, along with personal and family reasons for return, the rational dichotomy of “push” from the country of immigration (impossibility to find a job there) and “pull” to the homeland (availability of work in Bulgaria) stands out. For the highly educated (including those educated abroad) the “push” and “pull” factors act differently depending on the field of the received education. Moreover, professional realisation and finding a job are to a much greater extent determined by the field of education and not so much by the educational and scientific degree. Understanding the motives behind the return of highly educated Bulgarian emigrants to Bulgaria, as well as their separation into categories according to the specifics of their education and qualification, would help develop adequate incentives to support the return and reintegration into the Bulgarian society and economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Maria Bakalova, 2021. "Education and Migration: The (Non)Return of Better Educated Migrants to Bulgaria," Economic Studies journal, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Economic Research Institute, issue 4, pages 166-186.
  • Handle: RePEc:bas:econst:y:2021:i:4:p:166-186
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General

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