To return permanently or to return temporarily? Explaining migrants' intentions

Özge Bilgili & Melissa Siegel


This paper studies migrants' intentions to return to their origin country by making the distinction between permanent return, temporary return and participation in temporary return programmes. Using survey data from first generation migrants in the Netherlands, we explore how migrants' experiences regarding both the origin and destination countries are linked to their return intentions. We show that there are significantly more people interested in temporary return than permanent return. Moreover, we demonstrate that while economic integration has no clear link with return intentions, individuals with a lower socio-cultural integration are more likely to intend to return permanently. We also find that social homeland engagement predicts intentions for all types of return. Considering the potential positive impact of (temporary) return on development through the transfer of skills, financial resources and experiences, this research provides insight into the profile of migrants who could be the target of programmes and policies on return for development.

Keywords: Return migration, socio-cultural integration, economic integration, transnational migration, the Netherlands

JEL Classification: F22, J15, O15

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