Friday, July 10, 2009

Lesson In Network Migration

Few economic migrants look at a map, crunch the numbers, and then pick the best place to find their next job. When times are bad, as they are now, you tap a trusted network:

For some, the diaspora feels more like a homecoming. The close-knit quality of New York’s Irish neighborhoods makes the transition less trying, several recent immigrants said.

“It was very nice to come back to the Irish community,” said Conor, 27, who arrived in New York several weeks ago after finding no employment in Australia, where many out-of-work Irish have migrated in recent months. He, too, did not want his last name published because he feared detection by the immigration authorities.

Four years ago, Conor worked in New York on a special temporary visa given to recent college graduates. This time he arrived on a tourist visa, and through connections he made playing Gaelic football, he quickly found a construction job and an apartment in southeastern Yonkers, one of several Irish enclaves in the area, like Woodside, Sunnyside and Maspeth in Queens. ...

... After being mostly unemployed for a year, accumulating a tax debt of more than $100,000 and having his marriage end in divorce, Niall decided to try his luck in the United States. He settled on New York because he knew many people here and understood how to navigate the job market. And New York was a relatively short flight from home.

“You always go to where the Irish are,” he said, “because who else are you going to depend on to get your foot on the ladder?”

For cities struggling to attract any migrants (like Pittsburgh), relative prosperity doesn't seem to make much of difference. People tend to go where they know. Thus, the challenge is to get your region on the map and prospect among the relocation pioneers (blog reference George Nemeth at Brewed Fresh Daily).

Pittsburgh is hoping that the upcoming G-20 will pave the way for the in-migration of talent:

"Our economy is one that's being looked at worldwide, because of our ability to renew ourselves," said Joanna Doven, spokeswoman for Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. "The G20 coming to Pittsburgh makes it official -- Pittsburgh is back on top."

I hope you'll stop laughing long enough to read more. I'm wondering if other cities in the tri-state area are planning on taking advantage of the global summit in their backyard. Youngstown? Cleveland? Morgantown? Erie?

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