One-Way or Return? Explaining Group-specific Return Intentions of Recently Arrived Polish and Turkish Immigrants in Germany

Jan-Philip Steinmann, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

This article analyses return intentions of new migrants both on the individual and the group-level. The aim is, firstly, to systemize factors commonly discussed in studies on (re)migration to explain newcomers’ return intentions on the individual-level. Secondly, I ask whether these identified factors account for differences in return intentions between two ethnic groups. The hypotheses are tested with data from the SCIP project (‘Socio-cultural integration processes among new immigrants in Europe’) collected among Polish and Turkish new arrivals in Germany. The findings reveal that initial motives of migration as well as (economic, social and cultural) ties to receiving and origin country contribute to explaining newcomers’ return plans, whereas perception of ethnic boundaries plays a minor role. Moreover, group-specific return intentions can be explained by the fact that Poles and Turks differ in their motives of migration and their endowment with ties. These findings reflect the impact of immigration regulations that shape the composition of newcomers migrating to Germany, which in turn has an influence on their return intentions. Concluding, implications for migration theories are discussed. It is argued that future research should rather use migration theories in a complementary than in a competitive way.

Presented in Session 1235: Posters