Return migration encompasses a wide variety of migrants such as refugees, students, highly-skilled migrants, assisted voluntary returnees, forced returns, and labour migrants. Their return can be permanent or temporary and can occur for different reasons. Within this research theme we focus on decision-making factors in return migration, the consequences of return, and the relationship between return migration and development. Our research includes topics such as: understanding the decision to return; the impacts of repatriated refugees on communities of return and social cohesion; and the multidimensional wellbeing of return migrants. We have been pioneering in the area of understanding the relationship between temporary return and knowledge transfer and capacity building upon return through our work with the IOM Temporary Return of Qualified Nationals Program and the GIZ Returning Experts Program. The development impacts of return are contested and these relationships are explored in our work on sustainable return and reintegration. Within this theme, our work also explores the linkages among diasporas, diaspora capital, remittances, and development. Transnational migrants or diaspora members—those individuals who participate in activities and identities in both countries of residence and origin—can make vital contributions to the development processes in the countries in which they engage. Remittances are just one example of those contributions, which could also include the exchange of knowledge through (temporary) return or participation in knowledge networks, development of enterprises, or the transmission of different values and norms. Examples of past work within the area of diaspora and development include mappings of the Nigerian and Kenyan diaspora in Germany for GIZ, studies of the forms of engagement of Tunisian and Syrian migrants in Germany, and a study of the remittance corridor between the Netherlands and Afghanistan.
Related publicationsWaidler, Jennifer, 2018, Social assistance and remittances and their role in the fight against poverty, PhD dissertation Maastricht University / United Nations UniversityMahé, Clotilde , 2017, Occupational choice of return migrants: Is there a 'Jack-of-all-trades' effect?, UNU-MERIT Working Paper 2017-039Mahé, Clotilde , 2017, Husbands' return migration and wives' occupational choices, UNU-MERIT Working Paper 2017-031Koser, Khalid & Katherine Kuschminder, 2017, Assisted voluntary return and reintegration of migrants: A comparative approach, in: Marie McAuliffe, Khalid Koser (Eds), A Long Way to Go: Irregular Migration Patterns, Processes, Drivers and Decision-making, ANU, Canberra, Australia, More informationBilgili, Özge, Katherine Kuschminder & Melissa Siegel, 2017, `Return migrants’ perceptions of living conditions in Ethiopia, Migration Studies, More informationBilgili, Özge & Katrin Marchand, 2017, Domain 3: Protection and Migration, Thematic Input Paper - Agadir Regional Thematic Exchange Meeting. Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation: Bern, Switzerland, More informationWaidler, Jennifer, Jessica Sabine Hagen-Zanker, Franziska Gassmann & Melissa Siegel, 2017, `Do remittances and social assistance have different impacts on expenditure patterns of recipient households? , Migration and Development, in press , More informationWaidler, Jennifer, 2016, On the fungibility of public and private transfers: A mental accounting approach, UNU-MERIT Working Paper 2016-060Constant, Amelie & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2016, Diaspora economics: New perspectives, Published in International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 37, No. 7, pp. 1110-1135, UNU-MERIT Working Paper 2016-042Akay, Alpaslan, Olivier Bargain & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2016, Home sweet home? Macroeconomic conditions in home countries and the well-being of migrants, UNU-MERIT Working Paper 2016-038van Houte, Marieke, Melissa Siegel & Tine Davids, 2016, `Deconstructing the meanings of and motivations for return: an Afghan case study, Comparative Migration Studies, 4, More informationConstant, Amelie & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2016, `Diaspora Economics: New Perspectives, International Journal of Manpower, 37Kuschminder, Katherine & Metka Hercog, 2016, The Power of the Strong State: A Comparative Analysis of the Diaspora Engagement Policies of India and Ethiopia, in: D. Besharov and M. Lopez (Eds.), Adjusting to a World in Motion: Trends in Migration and Migration Policy, Oxford University Press, UKZimmermann, Klaus F., 2016, Diaspora Economics: Global Challenges and Perspectives, Symposium on “The Economics of Skin Tone, Gender, Ethnicity, and Diaspora“ at Middlebury College, More informationBilgili, Özge & Silja Weyel, 2016, Diaspora Engagement Policies: A Comparison between the Turkish and Moroccan Case, in: D. Besharov and M. Lopez (Eds.), Adjusting to a World in Motion: Trends in Global Migration and Migration Policy, Oxford University Press, BostonSturge, Georgina, Özge Bilgili & Melissa Siegel, 2016, `Migrants’ capacity as actors of development: do skills matter for economic and social remittances?, Global Networks, 16Vanore, Michaella, Nora Jasmin Ragab & Melissa Siegel, 2015, Diaspora and peace: What role for development cooperation, Background paper, More informationBilgili, Özge, 2015, `Economic Integration to Send Money Back Home?, Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies, 13, More informationWeyel, Silja , Craig Loschmann & Melissa Siegel, 2015, Migration and Development: A World in Motion - Morocco Country Report, IS Academy survey Morocco, More informationBilgili, Özge & Melissa Siegel, 2015, `To return permanently or to return temporarily? Explaining migrants’ intentions, Migration and Development, More informationFransen, Sonja, 2015, `The Socio-Economic Sustainability of Refugee Return: Insights from Burundi, Population, Space and Place, More informationKuschminder, Katherine & Melissa Siegel, 2015, `Determinants of diaspora policy engagement of Ethiopians in the Netherlands, African and Black Diaspora: An International Journal, More informationFransen, Sonja, 2015, `Remittances, Bonds and Bridges: Remittances and Social Capital in Burundi, The Journal of Development Studies, 51, More informationKoser, Khalid & Katherine Kuschminder, 2015, `Key findings of comparative research on assisted voluntary return and reintegration of migrants, Migration Policy Practice, V, More informationFransen, Sonja, 2015, The economic and social effects of remittances and return migration in conflict-affected areas: The case of Burundi, PhD dissertation Maastricht University / United Nations UniversityLoschmann, Craig, Christopher R. Parsons & Melissa Siegel, 2015, `Does Shelter Assistance Reduce Poverty in Afghanistan?, World Development, 74, More informationMarchand, Katrin, Sarah Langley & Melissa Siegel, 2015, Diaspora engagement in development: An analysis of the engagement of the Nigerian diaspora in Germany and the potentials for cooperation, Study commissioned by GIZ on the engagement of two African diaspora groups in GermanyBonfiglio, Ayla, Elaine McGregor & Melissa Siegel, 2015, Diaspora engagement in development: An analysis of the engagement of the Kenyan diaspora in Germany and the potentials for cooperation, Study commissioned by GIZ, More informationRuiz, Isabel, Melissa Siegel & Carlos Vargas-Silva, 2015, `Forced Up or Down? The Impact of Forced Migration on Social Status, Journal of Refugee Studies, 28, More informationKoser, Khalid & Katherine Kuschminder, 2015, Comparative Research on the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration of Migrants, International Organization for Migration (IOM), Geneva, SwitzerlandWaidler, Jennifer, Jessica Sabine Hagen-Zanker, Franziska Gassmann & Melissa Siegel, 2014, Do remittances and social assistance have different impacts on expenditure patterns of recipient households? The Moldovan case, UNU-MERIT Working Paper 2014-072Bilgili, Özge & Melissa Siegel, 2014, To return permanently or to return temporarily? Explaining migrants' intentions, UNU-MERIT Working Paper 2014-041Naudé, Wim & Henri Bezuidenhout, 2014, `Migrant Remittances Provide Resilience Against Disasters in Africa, Atlantic Economic Journal, 42Kuschminder, Katherine, Georgina Sturge & Nora Jasmin Ragab, 2014, Contributions and barriers to knowledge transfer: The experience of returning experts, CIM Paper Series No. 7, More informationBrown, Richard, Jørgen Carling, Sonja Fransen & Melissa Siegel, 2014, `Measuring remittances through surveys: Methodological and conceptual issues for survey designers and data analysts, Demographic Research, 31, More informationvan Houte, Marieke, Melissa Siegel & Tine Davids, 2014, `Return to Afghanistan: Migration as Reinforcement of Socio-Economic Stratification, Population, Space and Place, 21, More informationvan Houte, Marieke, 2014, Moving back or moving forward? Return migration after conflict, PhD dissertation Maastricht University / United Nations UniversityKuschminder, Katherine, 2014, Female Return Migration and Reintegration in Ethiopia, PhD dissertation, Maastricht University, More informationFransen, Sonja & Valentina Mazzucato, 2014, `Remittances and Household Wealth After Conflict: A Case Study on Urban Burundi, World Development, 60, More informationMcGregor, Elaine, Melissa Siegel, Nora Jasmin Ragab & Teressa Juzwiak, 2014, A New Global Partnership for Development: Factoring in the Contribution of Migration, Migration Research Series No. 50 commissioned by the International Organisation for Migration, Geneva, Switzerland, More informationvan Houte, Marieke, 2014, `Afghan returnees as actors of change?, Forced Migration Review, 46, More informationKuschminder, Katherine, Melissa Siegel & Nassim Majidi, 2014, `The changing nature of return migration to Afghanistan, Forced Migration Review, 46, More informationBilgili, Özge & Melissa Siegel, 2014, `Policy perspectives of Turkey towards return migration: From permissive indifference to selective difference, Migration Letters, 11, More informationKuschminder, Katherine & Melissa Siegel, 2014, Migration & development: A world in motion - Ethiopia country report, IS Academy Migration and Development survey EthiopiaSturge, Georgina, Elaine McGregor & Melissa Siegel, 2014, Watching a World in Motion: Reflections on the IS Academy Project, IS Academy Policy Brief No.19Kuschminder, Katherine, 2014, Shattered Dreams and Return of Vulnerability: Challenges of Ethiopian Female Migration to the Middle East, IS Academy Policy Brief No. 18Castles, Stephen, Hein de Haas & Mark J. Miller, 2014, The Age of Migration, Palgrave Macmillan, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire and London, The Age of Migration, More informationSkeldon, Ronald, 2013, Bringing migration into the post-2015 agenda: Notes, reflections and policy directions, UNU-MERIT Working Paper 2013-065McKenzie, David & Melissa Siegel, 2013, Eliciting Illegal migration rates through list randomization, UNU-MERIT Working Paper 2013-023Siegel, Melissa & Matthias Lücke, 2013, `Migrant transnationalism and the choice of transfer channels for remittances: The case of Moldova, Global Networks, 13, More informationMcGregor, Elaine, Özge Bilgili & Melissa Siegel, 2013, Migration in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, IS Academy Policy Brief No. 16Haas, Hein de, 2013, Migration and Development: Policy lessons from the Moroccan Experience, in: Cortina, Jeronimo, and Enrique Ochoa-Reza, eds, Managing Migration: Maximizing Development and Well-Being in Sending and Receiving Nations, Columbia University Press, New YorkHaas, Hein de & T. Fokkema, 2013, Transnational return and pendulum migration strategies of Moroccan migrants: Intra-household power inequalities, tensions and conflicts of interest, in: L. Oso and N. Ribas, The International Handbook on Gender, Migration and Transnationalism: Global and Development PerspectivesThe International Handbook on Gender, Migration and Transnationalism: Global and Development Perspectives, Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham, UKHaas, Hein de & Simona Vezzoli, 2013, `Migration and development on the South-North frontier: A comparison of the Mexico-US and Morocco-EU cases, Journal of Migration and Ethnic Studies, 39, More informationKoser, Khalid , 2013, Towards the High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, Policy report, IOM/UNDESA/UNFPA, 114ppSiegel, Melissa & Sonja Fransen, 2013, `New Technologies in Remittances Sending: Opportunities for Mobile Remittances in Africa, African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development, 5Ragab, Nora Jasmin, 2013, The Engagement of the Syrian Diaspora in Germany in Peacebuilding, Migration policy brief No 13, More informationSiegel, Melissa & Jennifer Waidler, 2012, Migration and multi-dimensional poverty in Moldovan communities, UNU-MERIT Working Paper 2012-077Ziesemer, Thomas, 2012, `Worker remittances and government behaviour in the receiving countries, Eastern Journal of European Studies, 3Siegel, Melissa & Jennifer Waidler, 2012, `Migration and multi-dimensional poverty in Moldovan communities, Eastern Journal of European Studies, 3Kuschminder, Katherine, Elaine McGregor, Melissa Siegel & Vivianne van der Vorst, 2012, Migration for Development in the Western Balkans (MIDWEB): Final Evaluation, Commissioned by IOM the Netherlands, More informationBilgili, Özge & Silja Weyel, 2012, Diaspora Engagement in Morocco - Understanding the Implications of a Changing Perspective on Capacity and Practices, Migration policy brief No. 10, IS Academie, More informationLie, Ann Louise, 2012, The effects of international emigration and return of Georgian migrants upon the spread of infectious diseases in the republic of Georgia, Report for the EC Migration and Asylum Thematic Program funded project: The effects of migration in Moldova and Georgia on children and elderly left behind, More informationAtamanov, Aziz & Marrit Van den Berg, 2012, `Heterogeneous Effects of International Migration and Remittances on Crop Income: Evidence from the Kyrgyz Republic, World Development, 40, More informationMuysken, Joan & Thomas Ziesemer, 2011, The effect of net immigration on economic growth in an ageing economy: transitory and permanent shocks, UNU-MERIT Working Paper 2011-055Muysken, Joan & Thomas Ziesemer, 2011, Immigration and growth in an ageing economy - version 2, UNU-MERIT Working Paper 2011-037Muysken, Joan & Thomas Ziesemer, 2011, Immigration and growth in an ageing economy, UNU-MERIT Working Paper 2011-012Siegel, Melissa, 2011, `The Age of Migration: International Population Movements in the Modern World, 4th Edition, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 37Kuschminder, Katherine, 2011, Migration Policy Report No. 1: The Role of the Diaspora in Knowledge Transfer and Capacity Building in Post-Conflict Settings: The Temporary Return of Qualified Nationals to Afghanistan, IS Academie Policy Report No. 1, More informationSiegel, Melissa & Katherine Kuschminder, 2011, A Who’s Who in Ethiopian Migration?, Migration Policy Brief No. 5, IS Academie, More informationZiesemer, Thomas, 2011, `Growth with endogenous migration hump and the multiple, dynamically interacting effects of aid in poor developing countries, Applied Economics, 1–14, iFirst, More informationFransen, Sonja & Lisa Andersson, 2011, The Emerging Remittances Market in Burundi: Opportunities for Development, Migration Policy Brief No. 6, IS Academie, More informationNaudé, Wim, 2010, `The Determinants of Migration from Sub-Saharan African Countries, Journal of African Economies, 19, More informationFransen, Sonja & Melissa Siegel, 2010, Diaspora Engagement in Burundi: The Emergence of a Migration Policy, Migration Policy Brief No. 3, IS Academie, More informationKuschminder, Katherine, 2010, Diaspora Engagement in Ethiopia: Finding its Footing, Migration Policy Brief No. 4, IS Academie, More informationHagen-Zanker, Jessica Sabine , 2010, Modest expectations: Causes and effects of migration on migrant households in source countries, MGSoG Dissertation SeriesSiegel, Melissa, 2010, Money and Mobility: Migration and Remittances, MGSoG Dissertation SeriesZiesemer, Thomas, 2010, `The impact of the credit crisis on poor developing countries: Growth, worker remittances, accumulation and migration, Economic Modelling, 27Tomini, Florian & Jessica Sabine Hagen-Zanker, 2009, How has internal migration in Albania affected the receipt of transfers from kinship members?, MGSoG Working Paper 2009-013Ziesemer, Thomas, 2009, Remittances, lagged dependent variables and migration stocks as determinants of migration from developing countries, UNU-MERIT Working Paper 2009-007Ziesemer, Thomas, 2008, Growth with Endogenous Migration Hump and the Multiple, Dynamically Interacting Effects of Aid in Poor Developing Countries, UNU-MERIT Working Paper 2008-057Chattopadhyay, Sutapa, 2004, Involuntary Migration and the Mechanisms of Rehabilitation: The Discourse of Development in Sardar Sarovar, India, Annual Meeting of Association of American Geographers, Pennsylvania: Philadelphia