Times of uncertainty in Europe: migration feedback loops in four Moroccan regions
The current economic crisis in Europe is negatively affecting the working and living conditions of migrants and might change the lives and migration aspirations of non-migrants in regions of origin. In times of recession, previously involuntary non-migrants [Carling, J. 2002. “Migration in the Age of Involuntary Immobility: Theoretical Reflections and Cape Verdean Experiences.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 28 (1): 5–42] may become voluntary non-migrants when they start considering immobility as a better alternative to migrating to Europe under uncertain working and living conditions. This paper investigates to what extent perceptions of the economic crisis and the changing opportunities for migrants in Europe might change migration aspirations of non-migrants in Morocco. It draws on the results of a survey of 2000 non-migrants and of 80 in-depth interviews collected in 2010 and 2011 in 4 Moroccan regions for the EUMAGINE project. This case study also provides an opportunity to analyse, from the perspective of the sending regions, how ideas and information about migration can have different direct and indirect effects in various regions depending on people's micro- and macro-level circumstances – in other words, according to people's living conditions and capabilities and the migration history and opportunities available to them locally and abroad. Beyond explaining the process of these migration feedback loops, the paper points out that besides migration-facilitating and migration-undermining effects, feedback mechanisms can also have a self-correcting effect on migration aspirations.