This paper provides a test-using an India data set-of both the Todaro-type probabilistic models of migration and a distinctly different view of the labour migration process which sees the rural-urban migration flow as consisting of two distinct streams, with separate incentives-one group migrating to the informal sector where wages are competitively determined and the other group to the formal sector with jobs mostly prear-ranged (and with rural-urban migration not contributing to an increase in unemployment in any meaningful sense). The policy implications of this alternative view of the labour migration process are clearly substantially different from those derived from the Todaro and the Harris-Todaro-type models. The evidence presented in this paper are seen to support this alternative view. The paper also considers the role of the social factors in migration decisions and examines the extent to which the variables which explain the migration for employment also explain the migration behaviour of those who gave various reasons other than employment for migration. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley and Sons, Ltd.