Return Migration from Sweden : A Longitudinal Analysis

Abstract: Return migration is one of the least studied areas within migration research, although it has major implications for both sending and receiving societies. The importance of the phenomenon is shown by the fact that more than 50 percent of the immigrants who arrived in Sweden in 1970 had returned after twenty years. This book deals with return migration from Sweden by immigrants from the major non-Nordic sources of immigration in the period 1968-1996. Using longitudinal micro level data, the study provides a detailed analysis of the immigrants’ migratory behavior. The results show that return migration to a large extent is determined by economic factors, such as individual income performance and the economic circumstances in the home country relative to Sweden. The deteriorated labor market situation for immigrants has led to an increase in return migration by highly skilled migrants, but not increased return migration in general. An important conclusion is that economic marginalization does not explain return migration. Regarding refugee immigrants, the decision to return does not only depend on the political situation in the home country; it is also highly dependent on economic circumstances. Different economic opportunities in Poland and Chile after democratization in 1990 explain the large differences in return migration to these countries.

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