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The Spanish-Colombian migration system experienced an exponential increase in the migration flow from Colombia towards Spain between 1996 and 2006. The years 2007 and 2008 correspond to a transition period during which the economic situation of the two migration hubs switched. Whereas Spain was coming out of its most prosperous period since the end of the Franco era and entering a phase of economic recession with an unemployment crisis, Colombia was slowly recovering from the economic downturn it went through in the late 1990s. This situation might have gestured towards a potential inversion of the migration flows between Colombia and Spain. The study presented here, based on micro-data concerning residential changes taken from Spanish population registers, confirms that more Colombians left Spain than migrated to Spain. It nevertheless shows that the current trent is towards bifurcation within Spanish-Colombian migration, meaning that more and more Colombians emigrate a second time towards a third country (United Kingdom, Germany, France, United States, Venezuela) instead of returning to Colombia. The diversity of Colombians’ migration routes and their various migration strategies should be analyzed in terms of migrants’ social resources.

Keywords

  • multiple migrations
  • return migration
  • economic downturn
  • Colombia
  • Spain
Célio Sierra-Paycha
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