On the move: International migration to/ in rural areas


Dr Philomena de Lima; University of the Highlands and Islands-Inverness College, Scotland

Dr. Sam Scott, Dept. of Geography, University of Gloucestershire, UK

Dr. Ruth McAreavey, Queens University Belfast, Northern Ireland 

Dr. Johan Fredrik Rye, Dept. of Sociology and Political Science, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway

Contact: philomena.deLima.ic@uhi.ac.uk


This Working Group (WG) is focused on the phenomenon of international migration to/ in rural areas. In particular, it is interested in what are termed ‘New Immigration Destinations’ (NIDs) i.e. largely rural areas and countries identified as previously unaffected by international migration. EU enlargement since 2004 has been at the heart of accounts of migration to ‘NIDs’, however the geographical diversification of international migration is not just a European phenomenon. The complex migratory patterns in rural areas points to an increasingly ‘mobile’ and ‘global’ rural which merits deeper exploration in both an empirical and theoretical sense.

Papers and panel proposals addressing one or more of the following themes in the context of rural areas/ regions and countries with limited/ no previous experience of international migration are welcomed:

  • Trends, patterns and types of migration to rural areas;
  • Explanations of, and theoretical perspectives on, migration to rural areas;
  • Different disciplinary perspectives and innovative methodological approaches;
  • Novel insights from rural comparative research;
  • The transformational (economic, social, cultural, environmental and political) impacts and contributions of different types of migration on rural/ regional development in destination and origin societies;
  • Interactions between migrants and ‘local’ host societies, and associated issues of ‘integration’;
  • Wellbeing of migrants, country of origin perspectives /experiences and impacts of migration on sending societies and migrants (individuals /households) including intergenerational changes;
  • Transnationalism, belonging and identity in a rural context;
  • Labour migration to rural areas, the changing base of rural economies, and the changing nature of rural labour markets;
  • The local, national and transnational geo-politics and policies migration to rural areas.


The WG will be based on a series of 90-minute thematic panel sessions of five participants who will give a brief (8 minutes) presentation followed by wider discussion. Traditional style as well as Pecha Kucha (20 slides/ 20 seconds per slide) presentations will be encouraged. Each panel discussion shall conclude with a summary of key issues that emerge. Participants should be prepared to submit papers in advance of the conference as these shall be circulated among panelists.