The economic effects of migration will obviously depend on the length of the migrant’s stay in the receiving country, and so it is important to obtain knowledge of migration durations, and also of which factors affect the duration of migration. In addition, the pattern of return/onward migration reveals which immigrants are attracted to the receiving country.
This paper estimates a duration model for migrants coming to Denmark between 1986 and 2005. Using data from Statistics Denmark, the duration of stay for all immigrants aged 15 or over who immigrated to Denmark in this period can be obtained. Clearly some of the immigrants had not yet left Denmark by the end of the period, so the data are right censored. These data are quite unique, due to the fact that they contain information on which country the immigrant emigrated from, and the country to which (s)he eventually emigrates from Denmark. This makes it possible to distinguish between return and onward migration.
The duration model is used to investigate the importance of skills and immigrant networks, and how these depend on country of origin. The analysis shows that immigrants with higher level skills exhibit a greater probability of out-migration, and also that immigrants with higher level skills have a greater probability of onward migration than return migration. With respect to network effects, the analysis shows that living in an area with a high proportion of residents from an immigrant’s home country will decrease the probability of out-migration, whereas a generally high proportion of immigrants from all countries in an immigrant’s residential area will increase the probability of out-migration. Finally, the analysis shows that out-migration rates are dependent on migrants’ countries of origin. Migrants from neighbouring countries have a higher out-migration rate than others.