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This paper uses data from the MAFE survey (Migration between Africa and Europe) to investigate the impact of international migration experience on occupational status in the context of return migration. More specifically, the objective is to study the professional situation of return migrants back in Senegal, and to contrast their labour market characteristics with individuals who never migrated. In line with previous literature, return migrants are found to be more often self-employed and active than non-migrants. The study further explores whether differential international migration experiences and return conditions are a key factor in explaining occupational status. The findings suggest that self-employment is positively correlated with variables indicating a lack of return preparation (involuntary return, short stays). Rather than choice, the self-employment status may represent a “last resort” for individuals who are not able to access wage-employment.

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