Even though international students are officially temporary migrants, many eventually become immigrants to the United States. Despite the large number of students who adjust their status, little is known about their migration intentions and decisions. We used a questionnaire sent to international students at the University of Minnesota to investigate these migration intentions. Here we report the factors that students consider in deciding whether to stay in the US or return to their home country on completion of their studies, and how these factors vary by nationality or other characteristics, such as gender or field of study. We also investigate whether international students see their stay in the US as temporary or as a springboard towards permanent immigration. Our findings suggest that few students arrive in the US with the intention of immigrating permanently. Instead, a wide variety of professional, societal and personal factors influence students in an ongoing decision‐making process. Broadly speaking, economic and professional factors typically act as strong incentives to stay in the US, while personal and societal factors tend to draw students back to their home countries. In the long run, a natural progression of professional and personal decisions leads many to become permanent immigrants. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Population, Space and Place – Wiley
Published: May 1, 2006
Keywords: ; ; ; ;
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