Following in the footsteps of others? A life-course perspective on mobility trajectories and migrant networks among Senegalese and Indian migrants

Eleonora Castagnone, Forum Internazionale ed Europeo di Ricerche sull’Immigrazione (FIERI)
Sorana Toma, University of Oxford

International migration is still mainly analysed as a one-time, one-way movement from an origin country A to a permanent destination B. Yet migration trajectories are often more complex, as migrants may travel through and successively settle in several countries, or engage in circular mobility. However, the factors that shape individuals’ migration trajectories remain little known. In particular, secondary intra-European migration is still an under-researched area, despite the fact that qualitative studies suggest that secondary movements have become a common mobility strategy increasingly adopted in times of crisis. Taking Senegalese and Indian migration flows as a case study, this paper characterizes the diversity of migration trajectories and explores the drivers that shape them. In particular, it focuses on secondary migration paths within Europe and the role migrant networks play in this form of mobility. We use quantitative, longitudinal data recently collected within the framework of the Migration between Africa and Europe (MAFE) and the International Mobility of Students and Academics (ISMOSA) surveys. Using sequence and optimal matching analysis, three main patterns of international mobility from Senegal are identified: linear or direct mobility, stepwise, and circular migration. Furthermore, preliminary results suggest that intra-European secondary mobility takes place mainly within the first few years of arrival in Europe and is motivated, to a larger extent then first migration, by work reasons or a desire for discovery. Also, social ties in other European countries play a substantial and significant role in triggering re-migration. Especially important are weaker ties and migrants having recently moved to Europe. In contrast, close family ties at destination decrease the likelihood of re-settling in another country. Thus, the paper emphasizes the more complex ways in which migrant networks influence mobility, and the importance of distinguishing between various types of ties.

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Presented in Session 31: Social networks among new immigrants and the foreign born