The effects of contemporary migration dynamics within and from Africa to Europe increasingly translate into cross border challenges facing the European Union. The socio-economic and political factors shaped by the processes of globalisation continue to generate different dimensions of migration in Africa. These dynamics have become major policy challenges in the management of migration and leveraging migration of development. Current policy initiatives are informed by top-down approaches that attach different opportunities and restrictions to them through categorisations such as irregular migrants, asylum seekers, failed asylum seekers, illegal migrants, skilled migrants, highly-skilled migrants, second generation and return migrants. However, these approaches do not take into account the agentic responsibility of African migrants and the communities that they have established in the respective destinations countries to manage themselves. Moreover, they fail to address return decisions and constraints to circularity as experienced by African migrants who may consider going back. Drawing on the experience of sub-Saharan African migrants in the Netherlands, this paper presents an alternative approach to the management of migration in the context of EU–Africa migration relations. It starts from the premise that the experiences and leadership of migrant communities in host countries are vital for a bottom-up driven approach to ‘managed migration’. Tapping into diaspora agency, structures of leadership, consultation and decision-making within the African communities provides new approaches to circular migration that translates into a triple-win situation.