This paper is based on a research project on biographical experiences in the context of intra-European migration processes from Spain to the UK and Germany in the years 2008-2018. The data base consists of 58 autobiographical narrative interviews, the analysis of which is informed by the methodology of Fritz Schütze (2008). In this article, I am analysing different biographical problem constellations and processes of tackling them that led to the decision to migrate to another country. The paper focuses on the biographical experiences of three informants. The collective crisis played a role in their decision to leave Spain. There were, however, important differences - depending on their «generational location» (Mannheim 1928), educational and occupational background, (lack of) work experience and general biographical circumstances. I then explicate three biographical patterns that became visible in the case reconstructions and could also be found throughout the rest of the data material: 1. striving for autonomy; 2. trying to escape from a trajectory of deep suffering; 3. in search for professional recognition, better working conditions and adequate pay. Biographical research facilitates a deeper understanding of the impact of collective crises on people's lives.