Settlement or mobility? Factors intervening in the migration-decision making process of recently arrived Germans in Switzerland

Ilka Steiner, Université de Genève

In the context of important migration flows within the European countries, our paper aims at understanding the factors intervening in the migration-decision making process of immigrants. We not only analyze the individuals’ consideration and/or their plan within the next year to return or to stay – a widely studied field – but also to move to another country, which has so far attracted less attention in research on migratory projects. Empirical research adopting the stated-preference approach has revealed that different pre-move thoughts (considering and planning) can be determined by different factors. Drawing from the literature, we test seven sets of factors: prior migration settings, embeddedness in the host country, satisfaction of the live in the host country, opportunity differentials between the host and the home or onward country, feasibility and preparedness, life course events and transnational ties. To provide new insights into the migration-decision making process, a multi-mode survey is carried out among adult German immigrants who have arrived since June 2002 in Switzerland. Almost 2000 individuals have taken part in the survey. After a short introduction, our paper presents the theoretical framework on the migration decision-making process. Thereafter, we explain the data collection process and evaluate the data quality. We then analyze the seven set of factors that influence considering and/or planning the settlement, the return or the onward migration of German residents. Therefore, we combine descriptive statistics and multivariate models. The paper closes with a conclusion.

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 Presented in Session 47. Determinants and consequences of immigrants' residential choices