Iranians’ Diverse Incentives for Immigration: The Case of Tehran Citizens

Rahimi A and Varandi NM

Published on: 2019-11-17

Abstract

Immigration is considered as one of the recent issues in the world today. Many problems naturally arise from this phenomenon for both the host countries and the homelands of immigrants. The aim of the present study is recognizing the incentives of Iranians for immigration. For this purpose, by considering the research literature (the push and pull theory) the factors provoking immigration in Iran were investigated and the economic, social, and affective factors were taken into account. a research questionnaire was planned and distributed among 480 residents in twenty two districts of Tehran. The collected data were analyzed by spss and warp pls software. In this research, attention to affective factor for immigration in the Iranian context can be viewed as a new idea in the related literature. However, the mere use of a quantitative method for analyzing such a complex phenomenon which has different complicated structural and social layers is considered as one of the limitations of the present study.

Keywords

Immigration; Incentive; Pull; Push; Affective factor; Partial least square (PLS)

Introduction

Immigration refers to a phenomenon through which a person or group of people leave their country for gaining permanent residence in a new society. Those who abandon their mother land usually have various capabilities which can be used in different forms in the target society. Immigrants get out of their homelands in order to find the means for flourishing in new contexts. Immigration from this view has practically started by the turn of the twentieth century. The development of science and technology in western societies created a context in which people commonly from less developed countries left their lands in hope of finding better conditions in new societies. They transmitted their intellectual capabilities as well as their riches to the host society to find something in their dreams. Immigration in Iran had a sudden rise after revolution in 1979. The United Nations international report about immigration range in Iran shows that the number of immigrants in 2000(2803800) and 2015(2726400) is significant in comparison to other developing countries in the world [1]. The resulting state naturally has caused a severe damage to the body of society and postponed the national environment for innovation, the chances of more production, and the background for economic prospering in this country. The transfer of human capital as the most important form of national asset is a serious form of destruction that a society can tolerate in the long run by immigration and the Iranian society is no exception in this regard. If the problem of immigration and the high tendency that Iranians, especially the elite, have for selecting a new country for living does not get solved in near future, the resulting damage will undermine the cultural as well as its economic bases. The researchers believe that the roots of immigration in Iran are more cultural than economic. This is most probably because of the changes that Iranian society underwent after revolution. In the proposed model of this research the social, affective, gender, personal, and propaganda as well as economic features were selected for studying the reasons of immigration in Iranians. These features show the importance of cultural aspects in our study beside economic factor for immigration sin Iranians. The main aim of this research is to indicate the order of importance of these factors for immigration in Iranian society.

Some Hints for Emigration in the Iranian Context

Why people leave their countries for residence in other countries? According to people determine to leave their countries on the basis of a hierarchy of values [2]. When the existing conditions in their own society cannot afford their needs in the least possible level, individuals determine to experience a new status in other societies. Deprivation of needs and discontent, however, in their homeland is not the sole reason for emigration. The needs should be of high value in order to push them for such a decision and the society in its very existence should provide such a condition of deprivation in its mere structure. When people feel that there are some sources for affording their needs in another country, they find a motivation which pulls them to get engaged for immigration. Regarding the iranian context from this perspective some questions may arise. Which valuable needs have iranians been deprived of? How important are the needs that push them to leave their country? To what extent does the ruling system, in itsunderlying structure in iran, deprive people of gaining their needs? According to some factors can affect our decision for immigration [3]. These factors may be associated with the area of the origin, the area of destination, intervening obstacles, or personal factors (ibid). as jafari moatar states, a condition of pushing and pulling in the source and target societies provides a tendency for immigration, which is mainly because of some sort of imbalance in the socio-economic conditions of the origin society. This pushes the immigrants out and pulls them to the absorbing factors in the host country. Although the pulling factors may not be of high strength but the pushing factors are so strong that the result is the phenomenon of emigration (ibid). A condition which can be scrutinized on this basis in iran is the concentration of power in one person and the inappropriate considerations of public opinion by the use of large scale propaganda which has turned into a pushing element instead of a pulling factor. It means that the imbalanced concentration of power in iran and the flow of propaganda for showing good conditions act as a pushing factor and does not affect the knowledgeable and talented persons and creates a state of dissatisfaction for them. The natural outcome of this repulsion by the governing system can result in an outer absorption of the educated and specialists. Believes that immigration reflects the function of international market as a pulling factor [4]. From this perspective, the human capital leaves the countries which have a low production level and moves towards societies with higher pulling productive capacities. On this basis, immigration is to the benefit of both the host and the sender countries and international immigration increases the potentiality of global production. Although immigration at an international scale may harm the origin lands but as far as it is of value to the host country and to the immigrants themselves, the immigration of the talented will accelerate the global benefits (ibid). According to salehi globalization approves immigration at a macro level. In his view, movement is a characteristic of human societies and involves the free transfer of capital, information, products, and the human resources. in the new global era, people can pass their geographical borders and work for international companies and have a share in global production. Immigrants can use their specialty and skills at an international level. However, the loss of human capital that iran tolerates because of immigration (about 150 to 180 thousand requests each year) cannot verify this phenomenon for the iranian context. Moreover, one of the consequences of immigration from globalization perspective is a state of bleaching in nationality and acquiring the identity of being an international citizen. Regarding the iranian society and its long eastern culture, the gradual loss of nationality and gaining a new identity as a global citizen, however, is something which may actualize very late for the iranian people. As vosoughi states, the human capital is a fundamental element for economic development for every society. Immigration from this aspect endangers the base of development and causes economic development get to its lowest level in the origin land. Immigration can be to the benefit of the rich and developed countries but to the loss of the third world and less developed nations. salehi also mentions that our educational system in its very structure acts as a pushing factor for the emigration of the educated persons. In our country, the educational system is an imitation from other countries and after revolution in 1979 the ruling system did not take the iranian long history and cultural background into account. The resulting state was a pushing element for the youth to the countries which were the original model for the iranian educational system. One of the reasons for immigration of the iranian people can naturally be the function of such a system. the iranian government after revolution tried to change this system in several phases by focusing on an islamic identity -omitting some courses and adding new ones like more subjects on religion and the arabic language. But the results were disappointing and the emigration process accelerated and people got into an identity crisis. The social status of immigrants especially the educated ones was a strong factor for immigration. the crisis of social prestige was a pushing factor. When people lose their social value parameters, even if there is no economic deprivation, they may seek to find a general atmosphere to have a higher social status (ibid). When there is a strong pulling factor from the destination society which provides a social esteem for the immigrants, people who face such a crisis will find the tendency for immigration and the Iranian people are no exception in this regard.

Social Capital And The Will For Immigration In Iran

Capital has been defined differently in different economies. In classic economy, capital includes concepts like work, ground, machinery, and instruments. In neoclassic economy, it refers to financial capital and in modern economy it includes concepts like human capital, institutional capital, structural capital, social capital, and information as well as knowledge capital. Social capital is the combination of the two concepts of social and economy. On the one hand it refers to economy because it is a kind of capital and on the other hand it is related to sociology for it is a social concept. This capital is the direct function of the cooperation of people in non- governmental companies on the principle of confidence. Social capital in fact reflects the institutions, relationships, and norms which make the interactions of people in a society possible. It is not in the hands of just one person and is obtained by the cooperation of people together. It is in reality a socio-cultural function which needs consideration. When people in a society do not confide in each other, the potentiality of that society for creating ordered cultural and social networks will be under question. The natural result of this condition would be a crisis in social capital. The formation of social capital is gradual but its collapse can be very quick and unexpected. States that individuals relate to each other by establishing social and economic networks [5]. The members of these networks like to have common values with each other. When these networks expand, some sort of capital is developed which is called social capital. The main idea of this kind of capital is healthy relationship. In a research done byMohseni 90 percent of Iranians in his sample had an unpleasant feeling of being anIranian, 76 percent of respondents said that their compatriots were liars, 90 percent thought about them as doubled faced people, and 91 percent called them as cheaters. This shows that the relationships established in Iran after revolution is not based on mutual confidence. An indirect way for assessing social capital is the existing statistics on crimes-the higher the rate of felony in a society the less the rate of confidence and hence social capital in a society is low (ibid). In a study done by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance in 2003, sixteen thousand individuals from 28 provinces were asked about honesty in Iran. The younger subjects believed that honesty in their country was low and 54 percent said that the need for the money gained by working pushes them to do everything, which means that earning money for them was not related to moral values. The increasing rate of felony is another indicator of the low level of social capital. This shows that in Iran social capital faces a crisis which can be considered as a repelling or pushing factor leading in emigration. From the perspective of national identity and its effects on social capital as states, social capital can be found in a society which has deep relationships with its history [6]. In Iran the unduly focus on Islamic culture and the weakening of national identity can be considered as a reason for lowering the level of social capital. The special reading of religion and an undue weakening of national identity accelerated the lack of confidence in the ruling system and made a wave of emigration for Iranians.
Some Incentives of Immigration for Iranians Immigration is the reflection of people to a series of imbalances and ruptures in the body of society in social, economic, affective, cultural, and political as well as other domains. The consequences of these splits are the incentives that immigrants have for filling their gaps in new societies. These incentives can be grouped in different categories. For the present study, the economic, social, and affective incentives were taken into account. For assessing these incentives and factors, the following questions were proposed.

Research Questions

What are the economic incentives of Iranians for immigrations?
What are the social incentives of Iranians for immigrations?
What are the affective incentives of Iranians for immigrations?
On the basis of these questions some economic, social, and affective factors were identified as pushing elements which make Iranians emigrate from Iran, and some corresponding pulling factors which accelerate this process were recognized as well. The role of gender equality, propaganda, and personal motivations were also considered as probable incentives and were added to these factors. Moreover, the impact of job (+ or -), tendency for immigration, social class, gender differences (male or female), and the level of education on these incentives were taken into account and a conceptual model was provided to show the relationships of these variables (Figure 1).

Methodology

The data were obtained by using a questionnaire which was provided by the researchers. A first draft of the questionnaire was sent to 6 researchers with experience in social sciences. The main purpose was to assess the content validity of the measurement instrument. After sending the questionnaire, interviews were conducted to get these researchers’ comments. This led to the final questionnaire which was copied and distributed among Tehran citizens.

Sample

Statistical population consisted of Tehran’s citizens as the representative of Iranian society and a random cluster sampling method was used for data collection. In this technique, the total population is divided into clusters and a simple random sample of the clusters is selected. The clusters in this research are the twenty two districts of Tehran. Statistical sample size was determined on the basis of Krejcie and Morgan Table. To gain more assurance, 480 questionnaires were distributed among respondents and finally 446 questionnaires were passed prequalified for statistical analysis.

Measures

In order to measure the research construct, a researcher made model was developed by authors (Table 1). Regarding indicators, the economic factor consisted of economic pressure in Iran and the economy of foreign countries for absorbing immigrants. The social factors consisted of the religious prejudice, the lack of freedom of speech, job opportunities existing in the host societies, the freedom that immigrants can have for selecting their mode of life and the lack of confidence in government ability for establishing a safe society in Iran. The propaganda indicator shows the effect of foreign countries attempt for attracting the elite. The personal factor shows the interest that immigrants have for experiencing life in a new society. The Gender indicator shows the problem of equality that women have in Iran regarding their rights. And the last indicator shows the affective factors which Iranians have for selecting a foreign country as their permanent place of living, including high attitude towards the target society, low moral values in their own country, the lack of belonging to Iranian society, and their higher psychological satisfaction in the host societies.

Data Analysis and Results

This section consists of three main parts. First PLS method is introduced. Then, the validity of research instrument is assessed, and finally the conceptual model is tested.
Partial Least Squares
The conceptual model presented in Figure 1 was tested using Partial Least Squares (PLS) - a multivariate analysis method to test structural models [7]. PLS is a general technique for the estimation of path model consisting of latent constructs which are indirectly measured by multiple indices. This technique primarilytries to present a causal-predictive analysis in which the problems explored are complex and the theoretical knowledge is scarce. PLS is an appropriate technique to apply in a theory development situation like the present research. This technique uses a component-based approach to estimation. Because of this, it places minimal demands on sample size and residual distributions and allows for the use of both formative and reflective measures, something not generally achievable with covariance-based structural equation modelling techniques such as LISREL or AMOS (Chin, 1998). In this research, we have used Warp PLS 3.0 software version 3.0 [8]. Despite Lisrel, indicators in PLS may be modeled as formative Fornell, but reflective indicators are decided by the construct and, hence, co-vary with the level of that construct. Latent variables with formative indicators indicate that the construct is expressed as the function of manifest variables; however, the observed variables form, initiate, or precede the construct [9]. Because latent variables are viewed as an effect rather than a cause of the indicator responses, these indicators are not necessarily correlated. Rather, the relationship between the research model indices and each indicator may function independently from the others. In our research model, all first-order factors are constructs specified with formative indicators. A PLS model can be analyzed and interpreted in two steps: (1) the assessment of the reliability and validity of the measurement model, and (2) the assessment of the structural model. This process ensures that the measures of constructs are valid and reliable before we attempt to draw conclusions regarding relationships among constructs [10].

Measurement Model

The measurement model in PLS is assessed in terms of individual item, construct reliability and discriminant validity. As mentioned earlier, we would like to point out that this is appropriate only for constructs with formative indicators and molecular second order factors (Table 1). Individual item reliability is considered enough by Alpha Cronbach when an item has a factor loading that is larger than 0.7 on its respective construct. Also, the Composite Reliability (CR) is calculated for each construct in the instrument for data collection. This is applicable to variables with reflective indicators and high order factors with molecular orientations. Nevertheless, in the case of constructs measured by formative indicators and molar second-order factors, the loadings are misleading because the intra set correlations for each block are never taken into account in the estimation sequence. Therefore, it makes no sense to compare loadings among indicators within a block. The interpretation of LVs with formative indicators should be based on the weights. However, a concern related to using formative measures deals with the potential multicollinearity among the components. Collinearity among indicators can exist and this would produce unstable estimates which would make it difficult to separate the distinct effect of the individual indicators on the construct. Therefore, a collinearity test using the SPSS program was performed. The results showed minimal collinearity with the variance inflation factor (VIF) of all items ranging between 1.070 and 1.822 both for formative indices and first-order factors linked to molar second-order constructs. This is far below the common cut-off threshold of 5 to 10 Kleinbaum. Convergent validity represents measures of internal consistency and, as discussed earlier, these are only applicable for LVs with reflective indicators (and also for molecular second-order factors). To assess convergent validity we examine the average variance extracted (AVE) measure, created by Fornell & Larcker. AVE values should be greater than 0.50. Consistent with this suggestion, AVE measures for all LV surpass 0.5133.

Discriminant Validity
To assess discriminant validity, AVE should be larger than the variance shared between the construct and other constructs in the model. For the adequacy of discriminant validity, the diagonal elements must be significantly greater than the off-diagonal elements in the corresponding rows and columns Barclay. This condition is satisfied for reflective variables and molecular second-order constructs in relation to the rest of the variables (Table 2). For the variable with formative indicators (processmanagement) and molar higher order factors, we cannot analyze their situation because of the non-availability of AVE values. Table 2 shows the discriminant validity coefficients. Diagonal elements (values in parentheses) are the square root of the variance shared among constructs and their measures (AVE). Off-diagonal elements are the correlations among constructs. For discriminant validity, diagonal elements should be larger than off-diagonal elements. Table 3 shows structural model results. Except social class, significance of the path coefficients were supported (Table 3).

Table 1: Measures.

Key Constructs

Indicators

Indicators

Reliability(Cronbach alpha)

Composite reliability

Economic

e1-e2

Economic pressure (pushing)   Foreign economy    potentiality (pulling)

0.711

0.846

Social

e3-e7

Religious prejudice (pushing) Lack of freedom of speech (pushing) Mode of life (pulling) Lack of confidence in government ability (pushing)
Job opportunities (pulling)

0.771

0.856

Propaganda

T8

Propaganda of other countries (pulling)

0.741

1

Personal

P9

Personal interest (pulling)

0.723

1

Gender equality

G10-g11

Women’s low right (pushing) Women’s low esteem (pushing)

0.811

0.905

Affective

A10-a15

High attitude towards the target society (pulling) Low moral values (pushing)  Lack of belonging to Iranian society (pushing)  Higher psychological satisfaction by immigration (pulling)

0.799

0.808

Table 2: Discriminant validity coefficients.

 

propaganda

personal

economic

social

Gender equality

affective

propaganda

(0.529)

 

 

 

 

 

personal

0.192

(0.624)

 

 

 

 

economic

0.137

0.389

(0.654)

 

 

 

socio

0.107

0.413

0.457

(0.771)

 

 

Gender equality

0.179

0.356

0.341

0.624

(0.667)

 

affective

0.276

0.371

0.401

0.510

0.478

(0.729)

Table 3: Structural model results.

Hypothesis

Path coefficients (b)

Suggested effect

significance

Support

propagandað incentive

0.25

+

0.01

þ

personalð incentive

0.51

+

0.01

þ

economicð incentive

0.69

+

0.01

þ

socioð incentive

0.85

+

0.01

þ

Gender equalityð incentive

0.8

+

0.01

þ

affectiveð incentive

0.78

+

0.01

þ

incentiveð immigration tendency

0.46

+

0.01

þ

Among the incentives, the social factor was the main element for pushing Iranians out of the country. After that, the lack of gender equality was a strong factor for immigration. Next, the affective incentive was an important pushing and pulling element for immigration in the Iranian context. Economic factor had the fourth rank for pushing Iranians to other countries and the personal factor was the last element for Iranian immigration. It should be noted that the effect of foreign propaganda was weakly confirmed as a pulling factor. Figure 2 shows the variance explained (R2) in the dependent constructs and the path coefficients (b) for the model. As Chin says, bootstrapping (500 resamples) is applied to generate standard errors and t-statistics. This lets us to assess the statistical significance of the path coefficients. As it is shown, in addition to the mentioned incentives for immigration in Iran, the role of educational level and social class on the incentives for immigration are investigated as moderating variables [11]. The results indicate that social class had no statistical significance in our analysis and the educational level had a low significance for affecting the incentives of Iranians for immigration. Table 4 shows the general SEM analysis results window. When assessing the model fit with the data, the following criteria are recommended. First, it is recommended that the P values for the APC and ARS be both lower than 0.05, that is, significant at the 0.05 level. Second, it is recommended that the AVIF be lower than 5 Kock.

Subsidiary Hypotheses

In figure 2, only education level and social class were tested as a moderating variable. Because gender and job are nominal variables, two subsidiary hypotheses (1 and 2) are proposed and tested separately. The results are shown in (Tables 5-8). Subsidiary Hypotheses 1: There is a positive and significant relationship between gender and immigration tendency. Chi square test is applied when a researcher wishes to explore the relationship between two nominal variables. Each of these variables can have two or more categories. This test compares the proportions of cases that occur in each of the categories, with the values that would be expected if there was no association between the two variables being assessed. It is based on a cross tabulation table, with observations classified according to the categories for each variable [12-18].

The main value that you are interested in from the output is the Pearson Chi Square value, which is presented in the Chi-Square Tests. If you have a 2 by 2 table (i.e. each variable has only two categories), however, we should use the value in the second row (Continuity Correction). This is Yates' Correction for Continuity (which compensates for the overestimate of the chi-square value when used with a 2 by 2 table).

Table 4: General SEM analysis results window. 

Criterion

Significance

result

APC[i]=0.455

 P<0.001

Good

ARS[ii]=0.392

 P<0.001

Good

AVIF[1]=1.061

 Good if < 5

Good

In Table 6, the corrected column is labeled Asymp. Sig. (2-sided). To be significant, the Sig. value needs to be .05 or smaller. In this case, the value of .135 is larger than the alpha value of .05, so we may claim that our result is not significant Average Path Coefficient Average R-Squared Average Variance Inflation Factor Pall ant. This means that the proportion of males who have immigration tendency is not significantly different from the proportion of females who intend to immigrate. There is no association between immigration intention status and gender. Value is 2.239, with an associated significance level of 0.135 (Table 7). Subsidiary Hypotheses 2: There is a positive and significant relationship between employment status and immigrations. On the basis of the explanations regarding the subsidiary hypothesis 1, the result of statistical analysis for subsidiary hypothesis 2 also reveals that there isn’t any significant relationship between employment status and immigration tendency (Table 8). 
 

Conclusion

Immigration as a speeding process in Iran can have many outstanding consequences on the future development and the present status of Iranian society. The flee of the elite and the persons with different qualifications and capabilities lessens the human capital in the long run and undermines the potentialities of Iranian society for adjusting itself to the modern world in which countrieshasten the route of development for providing a better and calmer life to their peoples. Recognizing the roots of emigration and especially understanding the incentives that Iranian have for immigration helps to face this creeping phenomenon and find ways to slow down its speedy acceleration. The results of this study showed that the social factor, gender equality, affective elements, economic circumstances, personal motivations, and the role of propaganda are the main incentives for immigration in order of importance for Tehran citizens. There is a meaningful relationship between these incentives and immigration in Iran (Tehran is considered in our research as the cultural capital of Iran and hence representing the Iranian society). Moreover, the social class does not have any impact on the relationship between incentives and immigration. Education level also has a very low effect on this relationship. It should be mentioned that gender differences (male or female) and employment status (joblessness) have no impact on the tendency for immigration in Iran. Regarding the role of social factor as the first element for emigration from Iran, boosting social capital in Iranian context can play a vital role for lessening the speed of immigration. The report of Ayandeban 2013 is a verification of our claim. This report emphasizes the challenges facing Iran regarding social capital. Gender equality as the second factor which pushes Iranians out of the country is a matter which should be dealt with more care by the ruling system. A sense of dissatisfaction for Iranian women, which pushes them towards immigration, is a serious threat which undermines the base of family in this country and can affect directly or indirectly the family members in general. A sense of lack of belonging to Iranian society for those who have not yet left the country, as an affective factor, and the belief that in Iran the rate of moral values is low shows the lack of social capital as well. The corresponding positive attitude towards the target society for immigration as well as gaining a higher psychological satisfaction by leaving the country indicates the depth of the crisis that Iranian society confronts and to some extent takes the function of the ruling system under question. If the number and force of affective pulling factors multiply in the long run, the result will be the undermining of national as well as cultural values. This requires an urgent action by government to strengthen the deep Iranian culture at a macro social level and pay attention to other non-religious factors which make Iranians' identity. Finally, on the basis of the findings of this research, it is recommended that the social and the bad economic conditions in Iran and the problem of gender equality, which have resulted in affective tendencies for immigration, dealt with realistically by authorities in order to stop the losses caused by immigration. Also, the following items are proposed for further research: The statistical population consists of Tehran settlement, so the generalizability results are limited to this urban area. It is proposed that the conceptual model be tested in other big cities and provinces in Iran.

Table 6: Immigration intention and Gender correlation Chi-Square Tests.

 

Value

df

Asymp. Sig. (2-sided)

Exact Sig. (2-sided)

Exact Sig. (1-sided)

Pearson Chi-Square

2.570a

1

0.109

 

 

Continuity Correctionb

2.239

1

0.135

 

 

Likelihood Ratio

2.608

1

0.106

 

 

Fisher's Exact Test

 

 

 

0.135

0.067

Linear-by-Linear Association

2.565

1

0.109

 

 

N of Valid Cases

446

 

 

 

 

Table 7: Immigration intention * Employee status Cross tabulation.

 

                 

job

Total

employed

jobless

Tendency

no

Count

81

57

138

Expected Count

82

56

138

yes

Count

184

124

308

Expected Count

183

125

308

Total

Count

265

181

446

Expected Count

265

181

446

Table 8: Chi-Square Test

 

Value

df

Asymp. Sig. (2-sided)

Exact Sig. (2-sided)

Exact Sig. (1-sided)

Pearson Chi-Square

.043a

1

0.835

   

Continuity Correctionb

0.011

1

0.918

   

Likelihood Ratio

0.043

1

0.836

   

Fisher's Exact Test

     

0.836

0.458

Linear-by-Linear Association

0.043

1

0.836

   

N of Valid Cases

446

       

The constructs in the instrument were tested for Tehrani citizens. To complete the study, the Iranian immigrants who live in other countries can be included in the next research procedure. Our research approach was Quantitative. The main weakness of this approach is that they cannot analyze the research constructs deeply. To compensate for this problem, it is better to validate the research results by Qualitative or Mixed Methods as well. This research tries to present an integrated model. It is recommended that each construct be tested separately with more sub factors to enrich the research results.

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