From Bridgeheads to Gate Closers: How Migrant Networks Contribute to Declining Migration from Morocco to the Netherlands

  • Erik Snel
  • Godfried Engbersen
  • Marije Faber
Part of the Migration, Diasporas and Citizenship book series (MDC)


A key finding of contemporary migration research relates to the crucial role of social networks and informal support within migrant networks in the initiation and the continuation of migration flows between sending and receiving countries (Massey, 1990; Massey et al., 2005; Epstein, 2008; Faist, 2010; Boyd and Nowak, 2013). Migrant networks encourage migration in numerous ways, both directly and indirectly. Whereas ‘pioneer’ migrants have to find their way to and in the destination country on their own, by facilitating their successors—giving, contributing to transport costs and providing access to housing and employment—they make migration easier and cheaper, and thus more attractive for potential new migrants. But previous migrants encourage migration also indirectly. Frequent home visits and transnational communication spread information about the benefits of migration and contribute to the rise of a ‘culture of migration’ in the home country. Bakewell and Jolivet (Chapter 9, in this volume) describe these personal or impersonal ‘messages’ from previous migrants to prospective migrants as ‘personal network feedback’ and ‘general broadcast feedback’. But in whatever way, migration networks contribute to migration up to the point that migration flows perpetuate, ‘independent of their initial conditions’ (Mabogunje, 1970, p. 14).


Return Migrant Migration Policy Migrant Network Societal Reception Guest Worker 
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© Erik Snel, Godfried Engbersen and Marije Faber 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erik Snel
  • Godfried Engbersen
  • Marije Faber

There are no affiliations available

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