Circular Migration between Fact and Fiction

Evidence from Germany

In: European Journal of Migration and Law
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  • 1 Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and MigrationBerlinGermany
  • | 2 Swedish Migration AgencyNorrköpingSwedenSwedish Migration Studies DelegationStockholmSweden
  • | 3 * Corresponding author, e-mail:
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Political actors in the European Union and in the eu member states have arrived to maintain that managed circular migration can generate benefits both for the destination countries and for the countries of origin of the migrants. Despite the fact that Germany so far has barely engaged in fostering circular migration through distinct programmes, a not inconsiderable share of foreigners from third countries living in Germany today can be viewed as circular migrants. This paper takes an inventory of the extent and characteristics of such spontaneous back-and-forth cross border movements by providing a specific, clear-cut definition for circular migration and thus analysing stock data on third country nationals residing in Germany. Furthermore, we scrutinise the German legal framework with a view to its propensity to encourage patterns of circular migration.

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