Internationally Mobile. Motivations, Determining Factors and Impacts of the Emigration and Return Migration of German Citizens

Study | March 2015

For many years, more German citizens have been moving away from Germany than returning, among them many highly qualified professionals. A joint study by the Expert Council’s Research Unit, the Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB) and the University of Duisburg-Essen analyses what motivates emigrants and returnees to migrate. The study is broader in scale than ever before and spans all professional groups and qualification levels. The result is, that Germany is not currently experiencing a brain drain, but more of a 'brain circulation', i.e. emigration is usually not permanent: a large percentage of people who move abroad plan to return to Germany. International mobility should still be proactively managed to prevent a permanent loss of skilled workers and take advantage of the opportunities that mobility offers. The study identifies relevant fields of action for policymakers, the private sector and civil society.