Most quantitative studies on immigrants’ integration in France are based on the implicit assumption that all immigrants would settle permanently in the country of destination. However, many immigrants eventually remigrate, either returning to their country of origin or pursuing an onward migration to a third country. This article explores the mechanisms of remigration and their empirical and methodological consequences for the analysis of immigrants’ trajectories in France. Taking advantage of large administrative longitudinal data from the Permanent Demographic Sample (EDP), this article examines departures from France between 1975 and 1999. The results show that immigrants who remigrate over the period are characterized by specific family and work situations, which might affect the validity of studies on integration. However, by comparing measures of immigrants’ economic integration drawn from cross-sectional and panel estimations, this study finds no evidence of a bias due to selective remigration for standard measures of immigrants’ trajectories in the French labour market. This approach calls for further questioning the classical conceptual framework of permanent migration in quantitative analyses of integration processes.
- cross-sectional data