Journal Article

Remapping onward migration through the trajectories of Colombian parents in London

Published 16 August 2022 / By Domiziana Turcatti

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Onward migration is generally defined as the process whereby people leave the country of origin, settle in a second country, and then migrate to a third country when circumstances change. This study advances the conceptualisation of onward migration by exploring the trajectories of 51 Colombian parents who settled in Spain in the early 2000s and then onward migrated to London after the 2008 crisis through the lens of relationality and mobility. Drawing from life history interviews, this article identifies five types of onward migration trajectories resulting from the interplay between structural and relational factors such as family obligations, gender roles, loving and conflictual relationships. For some parents, (1) onward migration unfolded linearly as they could move directly from Spain to London without significant factors constraining their move. For others, (2) onward migration was delayed by experiences of immobility. (3) Onward migration was achieved in a stepwise fashion when parents or their family members had to move to other countries to acquire the capital needed to onward migrate or to facilitate their family’s onward migration. (4) Some underwent multiple onward migrations before finding a desirable alternative to Spain. Finally, (5) in other cases onward migration followed other types of international mobilities when these did not bring about the desired outcomes. Ultimately, this article proposes a conceptualisation of onward migration as an open-ended, relational process that may entail and be achieved through multiple international im/mobilities.


Turcatti, D. (2022). Remapping onward migration through the trajectories of Colombian parents in LondonJournal of Migration Studies.