Audrey Lenoël

post-doc Audrey Lenoël tells us about the TEMPER project (Temporary versus Permanent Migration)

(Interview conducted in May 2018)

What can you tell us about the TEMPER project?

TEMPER, which stands for Temporary versus Permanent Migration, is a European Union project funded by the Seventh Framework Programme and coordinated by Spain’s Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas or CSIC. The project focuses on circular migration, a type of migration management that involves migrants moving back and forth between two countries. EU institutions tend to promote this type of migration today, seeing it as a feasible alternative to both permanent and temporary migration, though this preference is not founded on a detailed understanding of the reasons for which some migrants circulate or spontaneously choose to return to their country of origin. The aim of the TEMPER project is to provide empirical knowledge on the different ways migrants circulate. INED is involved in different segments of the project, including the development of a coded database on migration policies (the ImPol base); conducting interviews with seasonal farmworker migrants to France; coordinating an internet survey of students and teacher-researchers living in France, Spain and Great Britain (the AIMS survey, coordinated by Lama Kabbanji and Sorana Toma), and conducting a survey in Senegal on the causes and effects of return migration (the same survey is also being conducted in Argentina, Romania and Ukraine).

How was the survey in Senegal that your team was involved in run?

This survey on return migrations was conducted face-to-face using touch tablets by interviewers from the Senegalese Omedia polling agency, working closely with the IPSOS polling institute, from October 2017 to January 2018, following a pilot survey conducted in May 2017. In contrast to the other countries involved in the study, men only were questioned in Senegal as they account for much the larger share of migration flows from Senegal to Europe. But as in the other countries, our aim was to administer the questionnaire to 500 return migrants (in our case, 250 back from France and 250 back from Spain) and 500 non-migrants (defined as individuals who have never left Senegal for more than 3 months). The non-migrants were matched to return migrants??? on the basis of age (give or take two years) and place of residence (living in the same neighborhood) in order to construct a satisfactory control group. Also, half of the sample was selected from the Dakar region and the other half from heavy emigration regions (Thiès, Louga and Diourbel), including some rural ones, in order to reflect the diversity of experiences and contexts of return migration. We also used data from the 2013 Senegal census to help us select areas to sample.

What kind of difficulties did you encounter?

Return migrants are few and far between, and without a sampling frame enabling us to identify them, the main challenge was simply to find them. Our contacts with resource persons in the field made it easier to recruit respondents, but what really enabled us to find them was going door to door. In addition, the interviewers had to deal with distrust from some respondents and, in some cases, lassitude, as some had already been asked to participate in other surveys or do interviews. During the interviews, it was difficult to bring up subjects like respondent’s life partner, children and investments, primarily because some interviewers were reluctant to ask about them. But strong interviewer and supervisor training and continuous monitoring in the field helped them to overcome their initial reluctance.

Having respondents fill out questionnaires on touch tablets enabled us to assemble a database shortly after the fieldwork was done and to start analysis quite quickly. The first findings will be available this summer and other more detailed analyses will follow.