Eleonora Castagnone and Sorana Toma presents their paper 'A life-course perspective on mobility trajectories and migrant networks' in Parallel session I(C) of the conference Examining Migration Dynamics: Networks and Beyond, 24-26 Sept 2013
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 (Schapendonk 2010; Paul 2012) increasingly adopted in times of crisis (Sacchetto & Vianello, 2012; Cingolani & Ricucci, 2013).
Taking Senegalese 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) survey. Using sequence and optimal matching analysis, four main patterns of international mobility from Senegal are identified: linear or direct mobility, secondary migration within Europe, stepwise migration from Africa to Europe, 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. However, the unemployed do not re-migrate more then those who have a job; rather, the decision to re-settle is associated with a desire to improve one's occupational status, and is taken more by the self-employed and the entrepreneurs. Also, social ties in other European countries play a substantial and significant role in triggering re-migration. Especially important are weaker ties - such as friends, extended family members or acquaintances - 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.