For decades the promise of better wages and a higher standard of living pulled throngs of immigrants toward North America and Western Europe. But as the financial crisis rattles their “promised land”, many immigrants are choosing to return home, or to look for a new Eldorado.
Ireland and Britain’s slowing construction industries have spurred fears of unemployment among the countries’ immigrant Polish communities. Many Polish workers are considering returning home where stadiums and public facilities for the 2012 European football championships are being built. Others are not ready for a return, but are ready to try their luck elsewhere in Europe, such as in Scandinavia or the Netherlands.
The “American Dream” tastes more like bitter reality for many Mexicans living in the United States. “I haven’t found work, and I don’t have a place to sleep, that is why I want to return to my country,” says one immigrant. According to the latest statistics some 75,000 Mexicans, mostly working in construction, have lost their jobs. With no income to send to their families as remittances, many are ready to make the return trip south. According to the UN’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, as many as 2 million Mexicans may choose to return home in the next months.
The financial crisis has punished some countries’ economies more than others, and Romania’s seems to have been mostly spared. The country is experiencing a real estate frenzy the likes of which have not been seen since the fall of communist dictatorship. 160,000 Romanians are estimated to have returned to their homeland in recent years. Faced with the real estate boom, industry wages, which were on average 200 euros per month, have increased to as much as 1,000 euros per month.