Long-term socioeconomic implications of 'crisis-induced' return migration on countries of origin
Robtel Neajai Pailey
This Research Brief evaluates the potential long-term socio-economic implications of return migration on countries of origin in the ‘post-crisis’ phase because both the circumstances and consequences of return during ‘ordinary times’ are likely to be different from crisis-induced return. Because of the dearth of available data on the micro-, meso-, and macro- level outcomes of return resulting from conflicts or natural disasters in host countries, the literature on return in ‘ordinary times’ is used as an entry point. Given the different historical, political, economic and social contexts of countries affected by crises and the countries of origins to which migrants return, this Research Brief proposes key avenues for investigation. The impact of crisis on migrants will vary depending on a wide range of factors such as the economic stability and geo-political positioning of the origin or host country, the high-profile (or low-profile) nature of the crisis and resulting external responses, the socio-economic status of migrants, their relationships with non-migrant populations and with the origin state or host state, as well as migrants’ “preparedness” and “resource mobilisation” (Cassarino, 2004), which is particularly relevant for crisis-induced returns. Furthermore, the long-term consequences of crisis on host or origin countries and on migrants themselves differ according to migrants’ social qualifiers such as age, gender and legal status. Return migrants, regardless of the circumstances of their return or their socio-economic status, may or may not bring back human capital (skills), social capital (networks abroad) and financial capital (savings) though it has been rather difficult to measure the actual impact of these transfers (Ammassari and Black, 2001: 25-30). Therefore, while it is impossible to cover all the possible outcomes of crisis-induced return, this Research Brief explores likely scenarios emanating from desk-based research for the European Union-funded Migrants in Countries in Crisis (MICIC) research component examining six case studies, namely: Côte d'Ivoire, Lebanon, South Africa, Libya, Thailand and Central African Republic.