Who Migrates in a Setting of Free Mobility? Assessing the Reason for Migration and Integration Patterns using Cross-national Register Data from Finland and Sweden
Free mobility provides greater diversity in migration motives and settlement intentions by opening up migration as an opportunity to a wider range of individuals. This paper identifies migration motives by using pre- and post-migration information available in linked Finnish and Swedish register data covering the period 1988–2005. Finland and Sweden have been part of the Nordic common labour market since 1954 allowing Nordic citizens to move without barriers. Results reveal substantial diversity in temporary migration and labour market integration by the reason for migration. Migrants who are classified as student migrants have a high prevalence of return migration and circulation. Individuals classified as labour migrants often return migrate, but they are less likely to circulate than student and family migrants. Findings on economic integration show that the majority of labour migrants enter employment within the first two years after immigration. Student and family migrants enter the labour market in a step-wise fashion, but student migrants’ income surpasses that of labour migrants about five years after immigration. The results underscore that focusing solely on one country provides only a partial understanding of the dynamics underlying migration and integration.