Intending to return and returning to Senegal and DR Congo: choices and constraints in migrants' life trajectories

Marie-Laurence Flahaux, University of Oxford

Focusing on Senegalese and Congolese who have migrated to Europe, this study examines the factors determining their initial intention to return and their eventual return. It compares the case of migrants from these two African countries with different political and economic backgrounds. This comparison is based on the biographic dataset of the Migration between Africa and Europe (MAFE) project, which includes surveys in origin countries and Europe, as well as qualitative interviews with returnees in Dakar and Kinshasa. The study takes into account migrations occurring in different periods, for various reasons, and through more or less complex routes. Results reveal that contexts in origin and destination countries have an impact on the migratory projects of individuals and on their return. Analyses reveal that migrants have less intention of returning at their time of arrival and are less likely to return during times of instability in their origin country, in particular in DR Congo. It also appears that the hardest it is to migrate to Europe and the less migrants intend to return and do return.

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Presented in Session 84: Migration intentions of immigrants and natives