Return migration

For policies on return migration, it is important to distinguish between voluntary return, which is most relevant for development, and involuntary return associated with, for example, the rejection of an asylum application or the deportation of migrants in irregular status.

There is a need for more data on return migration: when and under what conditions do migrants decide to return, and what measures can countries put in place for social and professional reintegration? Both the pattern and the timing of return will have an impact on how sustainable the return is. The period the migrant is abroad, as well as the conditions under which he or she has been working, will have an impact on whether he or she will have been able to acquire new skills and to accumulate financial and social capital that will help in the reintegration in the local society and labour market. There is often a lack of support services to help returning migrants find employment or self-employment, as well as training. It is also important that countries of origin promote formal recognition of newly acquired skills of returning migrant workers. Countries of origin are increasingly aware of the cost of skilled migration and are often seeking to adopt measures to retain skilled workers and to encourage the return of skilled migrants and maximize the benefits of skills training, expertise and savings acquired abroad.

Return migrants are potential drivers of development for their countries of origin, if successfully reintegrated into the local society and labour market. Policies directed at the sustainable reintegration of returned migrants ideally include active labour market policies, taking into account the specific national and international labour market needs.