Yes, migration intentions predict migration flows

A new paper by Philippe Wanner demonstrates that migration intentions are closely related to actual migration flows. Using individual-level data from Switzerland, he studied recently arrived immigrants in Switzerland, comparing state migration intentions and actual migration 2 years later.

96% of migrants who wanted to stay in Switzerland actually stayed and 71% of those who wanted to leave the country actually left. Overall, intentions were a good predictor of behaviors

Wanner, Philippe. 2020. ‘Can Migrants’ Emigration Intentions Predict Their Actual Behaviors? Evidence from a Swiss Survey’. Journal of International Migration and Integration. doi: 10.1007/s12134-020-00798-7.