The Occupational Mobility of Return Migrants: Lessons from North America

Chapter

Abstract

Temporary-labor migration is viewed in many European countries as a way to meet the demand for low-skilled workers without incurring the social costs of immigrant incorporation. An underlying assumption of this strategy is that workers will return to their home countries at the end of their labor contracts. Research on the economic fortunes of return migrants has largely focused on the use of migrant savings for business formation, but little is known about the occupational trajectories of return migrants who do not make capital investments. This chapter seeks to fill this gap in the migration literature by examining the impact of return migration and cumulative migration experience on the occupational mobility of Mexico-United States migrants who return to Mexico. The North American case shares many parallels with contemporary migration patterns in Europe and can highlight factors that influence the transferability of financial and human capital acquired from migration to source country labor markets—a key element of the current rationale for temporary-migration programs. Occupational and migration histories collected in 88 Mexican communities by the Mexican Migration Project are used to estimate hazard regression models of occupational transitions and logistic regression models of life-time occupational mobility. Results suggest that return migrants encounter difficulties in returning to occupations similar to the ones they held in Mexico prior to migration to the United States, and that migrants in general do not realize long-term occupational gains in Mexico from U.S. work experience.

Keywords

Labor Market Business Ownership Return Migrant Upward Mobility Migration Experience 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Population Studies and Training CenterBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA

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