Investigating “return preparedness”
There exists a basic and too often overlooked condition that intimately connects any person who returns from abroad, regardless of the place of origin, social background, motivations, resources, sense of belonging, migration experience, projects, skills, legal and occupational status. Beyond the plurality of return migrants’ experiences there is a primary element that needs to be taken into consideration: return preparedness.
Return preparedness is a key concept for the RDP. It refers to a process which, by definition, takes place in real life, through time, and is shaped by changing circumstances in their broadest sense. It is not only about preparing for return. It is about having the ability, though not always the opportunity, to gather the tangible and intangible resources needed to secure one’s own return and reintegration back home, whether on a temporary or permanent basis.
Understanding why some return migrants have various degrees of return preparedness is key to analysing how migrants’ patterns of reintegration in their (developed or developing) countries of origin vary so much. Given its international scope, the RDP promotes comparative research projects on returnees’ patterns of reintegration in countries belonging to highly diverse regional areas. This option has been driven by the desire to enhance similarities and contrasts without necessarily relying on limited regionally-focused analyses. Identifying overall indicators beyond the specificities of regional contexts is an additional objective.
CRIS is a new initiative launched in 2011 thanks to the financial support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the European University Institute. CRIS is aimed at addressing the factors and conditions shaping returnees’ patterns of reintegration in their countries of origin. In other words, it sets out to explain why some return migrants contribute to development back home, whereas others do not.
The main objective of the MIREM project revolves around a more in-depth consideration of the challenges linked to return migration as well as its impact on development. Analyses and user-friendly tools have been provided to understand and identify the factors inherent in the returnees’ migratory experience, as well as those that are external to it, which shape their patterns of reintegration in three North African countries (i.e., Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia). The Database on Return Migrants to the Maghreb (DReMM) constitutes one key outcome of this project.