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  • Project contributors: Schluter C, Wahba J, Bijwaard G,

    This Project is linked to the following Strand/s:

    Migration and Mobility

    Overview

    Objectives
    This research investigates the relationship between experiencing unemployment and return migration, in particular, whether unemployment leads to departure. It explored to what extent unemployment affects the decisions of migrants to return to their home country, and also looked into whether re-employment increases the chance of immigrants staying. In addition, the study looked at how the effect varies by the duration of unemployment and re-employment. Quantifying the effects of time spent unemployed on the decision of migrants to return to their source country is relevant to current debates about the financial costs, in terms of the state's social welfare bill, of “failed” immigrants. Such debates also usually ignore that the labour market fortunes of these immigrants can be reversed; i.e. do not consider the effects of re-employment.

    Methods
    A unique administrative panel was used (government records over time) for the entire population of recent immigrants to the Netherlands covering the years 1999-2007. The Dutch immigrant register is based on the legal requirement for immigrants to register with the authorities upon arrival. EU-citizens are required to register in The Netherlands. Another important feature of those data is the motive for immigration is also recorded by the authorities upon arrival of the migrant.

    The sample of analysis comprised of over 94,000 labour immigrants. This data was used to model the relationship between the time spent by immigrants in the Netherlands and individual labour market shocks (such as loss of a job). The reverse causation between unemployment and return migration was taken into account, i.e. whether unemployment leads to departure or whether emigration plans lead to unemployment. In addition, the time it takes for an immigrant who experienced unemployment to leave the host country was examined.

    Findings
    This study found that the majority of recent labour immigration to the Netherlands is temporary, and that British immigrants are the largest recent labour immigrant group in the Netherlands.

    Across all immigrant groups, there is evidence that unemployment leads to return migration. Moreover, getting a job after a spell of unemployment delays the return of migrants back to the country of origin. This is true for migrants from all the groups of countries we looked at except for those from the new EU countries (mainly Poland).

    The longer the migrants are unemployed the higher the chance that they will leave. For migrants from non-EU DCs the effect of unemployment on the return decision is smaller and decreasing with the length of the unemployment spell. The impact of re-employment following an unemployment spell is larger for longer employment spells; i.e. the longer the re-employment spell the less likely recent labour immigrants would leave. The timing of the unemployment spell and immigrants' characteristics play a relatively small role in explaining the time a labour migrant remains in the Netherlands.

    Publications & Activities

    The Economic Payoff of Name Americanization
    Journal of Labor Economics (2017). 35 (4) 1089-1116
    Authors: Biavaschi C, Giulietti C, Siddique Z,

    Immigrants' Wage Growth and Selective Out-Migration
    Immigration in OECD countries Seventh annual conference (2017). (OECD, Boulogne-Billancourt, Paris)
    Authors: Bijwaard G, Wahba J,

    Upward or Downward: Occupational Mobility and Return Migration
    NovaAfrica Seminars (2016). (Nova School of Business and Economics, Universidade Nova de Lisboa)
    Authors: Wahba J,

    Keynote speech: The Effects of Return Migration on Origin Countries
    3rd CDCI International Conference 2016 (2016). (Bucharest, Romania)
    Authors: Wahba J,

    Wahba J, (2015) Chapter 12 - Return migration and economic development in The International Handbook on Migration and Economic Development
    Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd

    Do High-Income or Low-Income Immigrants Leave Faster?
    Journal of Development Economics (2014). 108 54-68
    Authors: Bijwaard G, Wahba J,

    Return Migration and International Mobility of Skills in MENA
    Mobilising Migrants' Skills For Development in the MENA Region (2013). (Tunis)
    Authors: Wahba J,

    Do High-Income or Low-Income Immigrants Leave Faster?
    NORFACE Migration: Global Development, New Frontiers (2013). (University College London)
    Authors: Bijwaard G, Wahba J,

    Jobless immigrants prefer home sweet home
    7 days of social science research (2012).
    Authors: Wahba J,

    The Impact of Labour Market Dynamics on the Out--Migration of Immigrants
    Exploring Research Synergies Meeting (2012). (ESRC Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS), University of Oxford)
    Authors: Schluter C, Wahba J,

    Job Turnover and Wage Differentials between Migrants and Natives: The case of Germany
    Migration: Economic Change, Social Challenge Conference (2011). (University College London)
    Authors: Nanos P, Schluter C, Wahba J,

    The Impact of Labour Market Dynamics on the Return-Migration of Immigrants
    Institute for the Study of Labor (2011). Series Number: 5722.
    Authors: Bijwaard G, Schluter C, Wahba J,

    The Impact of Labour Market Dynamics on the Return-Migration of Immigrants
    University College London (2011). Series Number: 2011-7.
    Authors: Bijwaard G, Schluter C, Wahba J,

    The Impact of Labour Market Dynamics on the Return-Migration of Immigrants
    University College London (2011). Series Number: 27/12.
    Authors: Bijwaard G, Schluter C, Wahba J,

    The Impact of Labour Market Dynamics on the Out-Migration of Immigrants
    Migration: Economic Change, Social Challenge Conference (2011). (University College London)
    Authors: Bijwaard G, Schluter C, Wahba J,

    Job Turnover and Wage Differentials between Migrants and Natives: The case of Germany
    The Frontiers of Migration Workshop (2010). (Bamberg)
    Authors: Nanos P, Schluter C, Wahba J,

    Job Turnover and Wage Differentials between Migrants and Natives: The case of Germany
    Conference on Migration, Development and Global Issues (2010). (University College London, organised by CReAM, World Bank and Norface Migration Network)
    Authors: Nanos P, Schluter C, Wahba J,