Understanding free movement and migration in the European Union
Push and pull factors
People move for many reasons, and often for more than just one. But, however complex the reasons, researchers often find it useful to consider which factors act as a ‘push’, encouraging someone to emigrate from one country, and which act as a ‘pull’, encouraging them to choose a particular country as their destination.
Within the EU, these push and pull factors are often related to wages and employment opportunities, or to family reasons.
For example, REMINDER research on cross-border mobility between Austria and Hungary, and Austria and Slovakia, found that unemployment and lower incomes in Hungary and Slovakia were seen as the most important push factors. Income differences and better working conditions were the most important factors ‘pulling’ these workers into Austria, where wages are sometimes more than three times what could be earned at home.