IZA DP No. 7111: Returning Home at Times of Trouble? Return Migration of EU Enlargement Migrants during the Crisis
published in: M. Kahanec and K.F. Zimmermann (eds.), Labor Migration, EU Enlargement, and the Great Recession, Springer: Berlin, et al., 2016 : 397-418
The eastern enlargements of the EU in 2004 and 2007 have stimulated the mobility of workers from the new EU8 and EU2 countries. A significant proportion of these migrants stayed abroad only temporarily, and the Great recession may have triggered return intentions. However, a return may be postponed if the economic situation in a sending region is persistently worse. This paper documents emerging evidence on return migration in post-enlargement Europe combining several data sources to describe the characteristics and selection of the returnees, as well as the determinants of return migration and potential re-migration decisions. The findings suggest that brain circulation rather than brain drain is relevant for several new member states and that returnees are most likely to migrate again. Moreover, the proportion of potential movers is larger in countries most affected by the crisis. Repeat and circular migration is expected to alleviate the potential negative impacts of the crisis, leading to a more efficient allocation of resources within the enlarged EU.