A Framework of Voluntary Migration: Understanding Modern British Migration to New Zealand
Although migration has been studied extensively by a variety of social science disciplines, rarely has research been conducted into the experiences of self-selected, voluntary migrants before they depart their country of origin. Two studies were conducted to address this gap in the literature. Study 1 examined qualitative expressions of primarily British migrants who participated in three online forums for migrants to New Zealand over a one-month timeframe. The primary function of the migration forums was to provide informational support, and this was considered very valuable to predeparture migrants. Study 2 was a quantitative anonymous survey of British pre-departure migrants (N=95) that examined psychological variables such as stress and wellbeing with a focus on the role of social support. Migrants passed through a process characterized by stages, with most contemplating migration for more than two years before committing to it. Reasons given for migration included macro and micro factors, such as crowding, quality of life/lifestyle, children, government control of citizen's lives, and environment. Family members accompanying the migrant were rated most highly for emotional and instrumental support, and increased family support predicted better wellbeing and lower stress. Drivers of the migration decision, who were more enthusiastic about the move than their partner, felt more stress and trailing spouses had lower wellbeing. Support from extended family members dropped significantly after migrants informed them of their decision to leave. Migrants who were parents perceived less support from extended family members than did those without children. Implications for further research include the need to address the predeparture period as important in the acculturation process.