Matthew Hayes is Canada Research Chair in Global and International Studies. His research explores the lives of lifestyle migrants from high-income countries in the Global North to lower income in the Global South. He has conducted most of his work so far in Ecuador, where he explores how migrants from North America create new lives and new identities through migration, and how they navigate global inequalities of class and racialization. Dr. Hayes is currently in the process of extending his study for comparative purposes to Morocco, where he is conducting interviews with Franco-European lifestyle migrants.
Lifestyle migration refers to the transnational relocation, permanent or part-time, of individuals from relatively wealthy countries, who usually relocate not for labour market purposes, but instead to create a better lifestyle through leisure activities or projects of self-discovery. Lifestyle migrants may also move to take advantage of amenities such as a lower cost of living, better weather, or participation in the life of another culture. Many lifestyle migrants do not see themselves as migrants at all, but refer to their relocation as a move, and of their status in other countries as expats. However, Dr. Hayes argues that these migrations are also part of a global process of migration, caught up in historical forces that shape different types of transnational mobility.