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Project Context and Objectives:
Recent research has made a great progress in understanding the causes behind the decision to migrate from less developed countries to more developed ones. However, our knowledge remains very limited with regard to the ultimate reasons why some migrants return to their countries of origin in a rather spontaneous manner, while others do not; and we know even less about the motives why some of those who return to origin at some point end up re-migrating to either the same destination country or a new one later on. These questions about the reasons underlying the migrants’ decisions to return and, later, to re-emigrate (including circulation between the country of origin and the same country of destination following a rather cyclical pattern) are crucial from both a scientific and political point of view.
First of all, there seems to be a link between the decision and timing of return and the reasons why migrants left in the first place. Accordingly, understanding individual mobility decisions as a continuum within a life-course framework constitutes a key instrument to design policies in the most realistic and efficient manner. Secondly, the EU Commission has devoted increasing attention and policy effort to promote, in the framework of the GAMM, both temporary and circular migration from third countries to the Member States as the best strategy in the search for a triple win for migrants, countries of origin and of destination. However, we lack clear empirical evidence supporting the idea that repeated and circular migration respond to the needs and expectations of many (potential) migrants; as it remains equally unclear that repeated and circular forms of migration entail for them and their families more advantages and profits than more traditional forms of mobility, temporary but of longer term or even permanent.
In this scientific and political context, the overall objective of the TEMPER Project (Temporary versus Permanent Migration) is to provide a comprehensive assesment of the recent initiatives at EU and national level to promote temporary and circular migration as a realistic and promising alternative to more traditional forms of migration, both temporary and permanent. To do so, both real and potential circulation will be examined for several populations: 1) non-migrants still in countries of origin, 2) migrants currently residing in EU countries, 2) migrants who have returned to their countries of origin after spending some period of time in some EU country. Moreover, migrants and non-migrants from different geographical areas (Latin America, SubSaharan Africa and Eastern Europe) and with different social and labour profiles (seasonal workers, low and high skilled workers, researchers, and students) will be included.
To meet its overall objective, the TEMPER project pursues three specific objectives, each of them identifying or assessing one crucial aspect of international mobility:
(1) The main drivers of the return and circulation decisions of individuals who have recently participated in temporary and permanent stays in the EU.
(2) The role played, among those drivers, by migration policies and temporary recruitment programs in shaping aggregated and individual mobility patterns including emigration, return and circulation.
(3) The perceived and measurable impact that different forms of migration –temporary, permanent and circular- have for the migrant and non-migrant workers, their families and communities.
The obtained results will allow us to assess empirically the extent to which promoting temporariness and circularity constitutes a real alternative for migration management in the EU. In particular, we will be in a better position to establish whether these new forms of migration could provide greater benefits for all the involved parties in the phenomenon, or they are just desirable for a particular group of migrants and economic sectors and, accordingly, migration policies should integrate initiatives to promote them within a wider and more flexible approach to mobility management in the EU.
Project Results:
A clear and detailed allocation of tasks in both data production and analyses has been planned based on different types of migration. Basically, TEMPER is organized around two main types of substantive Work Packages (WPs):
1) WPs investigating specific types of (temporary) migration forms (WP2, WP3, WP4, WP5) through more qualitative approaches (small numbers but richer context and subjective explanations).
During the Second Reporting Period all the activities developed by TEMPER partners have been oriented to collect original data about different types of temporary forms of mobility, since the work already done during the first period concluded in most cases these temporary flows were of small size and difficult to identify and locate, with the exception of international students. The main results achieved concerning the specific temporary migration WPs consists of the completion of the interviews with seasonal workers in the agriculture sector, both in destination and origin countries (D2.2) interviews with migrants involved in particular temporary programs like the Australians in the Youth Mobility Program (D3.2 D3.3) the international students and academics surveyed online in UK, France and Spain, regardless of their country of origin (D4.3) and the preparation of the aggregated datasets merging Labour Force Surveys from multiple EU countries, as well as macro-indicators that may act as pull factors for high-skilled migration (D5.3). Each of the fieldwork instruments prepared for the data collection made a particular effort to identify opportunities and actual cases of circulation, including unexpected legal transitions that allowed migrants initially admitted as temporary to become long-term and even permanent residents, which was the specific focus of WP6 (D6.2 and D6.3). We are currently analysing all the data collected and some preliminary results are described below.
2) WPs investigating mobility patterns and their main drivers (WP7), also including policies (WP6 and WP8), and impacts (WP9) of both temporary and permanent types of migration through survey data and systematically codified legal and policy information.
During the Second Reporting Period, all the activities developed by TEMPER partners have focused on applying the data collection tools designed during the First Period, which allowed to systematically investigate mobility patterns, migration policies and impacts. The leaders and teams involved in WP7 and WP9 have finalised, pre-test, pilot and revised accordingly the questionnaire for the TEMPER Surveys in Countries of Origin with returnees and non-migrants. Fieldwork has already started in Argentina, and Senegal is re-starting in September after having requested from Fi2net partner a specific reduced version of the questionnaire to adjust its duration to the conditions of the tender signed with IPSOS, in charge of the fieldwork in Senegal. This task consumed many more hours of work than initially planned for all the partners involved. Ukraine and Romania are starting the fieldwork in September, to adjust to the mobility patterns of their migrant populations and avoid visits during the summer that could be mistakenly taken as returnees otherwise.
In WP8, the three partners mainly involved in constructing the ImPol database finalised their coding after multiple revisions and double-checks of the indicators defined. In addition, consultations with specialised lawyers in each of the four countries covered by ImPol started, in order to have the dataset ready for making it accessible to the public, completing all the complementary documentation. A first deliverable on the gaps between legislation and implementation of immigration policies was completed as a necessary complement to the study of the immigration laws and rules that guides ImPol (D8.2). In addition, a second deliverable focusing on the temporariness, return and circulation aspects of immigration policies in the four EU countries covered by ImPol was completed right before the Launching Event of ImPol celebrated in Brussels at the end of May 2017. Finally, the leaders of WP6, after analysing the main legal transitions experienced by migrants in the EU TEMPER countries according the information available in official statistics, also completed the fieldwork with Ukrainian migrants to analyse their unexpected legal trajectories, as well as designed and started the in-depth qualitative interviews with students in the UK and France.
Potential Impact:
The TEMPER Project will provide enough empirical evidence to confirm or reject the two following hypotheses:
- that circularity is a realistic alternative to both strictly temporary labour and permanent settlement because there exist a large enough pool of prospective migrants and returnees interested in engaging in them,
- that return and circularity benefit the involved parties, including migrants, their families and areas of origin more than traditional forms of temporary and permanent migration.
The TEMPER project will assemble both quantitative and qualitative evidence to assess whether these views are realistic or not, thereby contributing to more effective policies to manage mobility between the EU and third countries. We have listed some of the expected scientific contributions and their applicability for better design of public policies:
- First Scientific Contribution: Analysis of the (potential) migrants preferences about different forms of international mobility (temporary, permanent and circular) through surveys and interviews in origin and destination countries, with non-migrants and returnees. Applicability for Public Policies: Identify and quantify the 'pool' of potential migrants (number and socio-economic profile) personally interested in temporary and/or circular migration as their ideal or most preferred mobility project. Understanding of the reasons why current migrants and non-migrants are (not) interested in these forms of migration, and reform of the existent programs accordingly.
- Second Scientific Contribution: Objective and subjective impacts of return and circularity at the individual level, once the effect of migration is neutralized, for migrants, their families and their communities of origin, through surveys and interviews in origin and destination countries, with non-migrants and returnees. Applicability for Public Policies: Better knowledge of the impacts of return and circulation for the countries of origin, the actual role of migration to the EU as a device to reduce poverty and inequalities, but also as a engine for social change, through transfer of ideas, life style and values.
- Third Scientific Contribution: Analysis of the variation in wish and intensity of return and circulation by level of skills, reasons for migrating and legal category of admission, with special attention to international students, researchers and high-skilled workers. Applicability for Public Policies: Brain and knowledge circulation, use and waste of skills and, accordingly, better design of recruitment and labour policies in the EU when dealing with migrant workforce.
- Fourth Scientific Contribution: Inventories of programs for recruitment of migrant workers (seasonal in agriculture, low and mid skilled, and highly skilled), with detailed analysis of the institutional designs more successful so far in different countries. Applicability for Public Policies: Identification of the best practices in the area of migrant labour recruitment, strategies that have previously failed and why, and programs that have increased the satisfaction of all involved parties beyond the redutionistic view focused on entry controls.
- Fifth Scientific Contribution: Collection of opinion from key actors in different programs for (temporary and circular) migration management at work in different EU countries since 2000. Applicability for Public Policies: Detailed policy assessment by different agents participating in temporary migration programs in different EU and non-EU countries, to identify who is satisfied and who is not, and why.
- Sixth Scientific Contribution: Construction of ImPol dataset that systematizes and codifies legal texts about admission of migrants by origin and category, since 1970 up to now in IT, SP, FR and UK. Applicability for Public Policies: Instrument to empirically measure the effect that policy changes in some EU countries have had on the size and composition of the migrant labour flows.
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