Return Migration and Reintegration

The voluntary return of migrants to their home country supports economic development and job creation as returnees bring capital and knowledge back with them. Return migration has impacts on knowledge diffusion and innovation in countries of origin. This is further catalyzed if the origin country provides a framework and good conditions for returnees to make use of their skills and investments. On the other hand, large-scale forced returns can have disruptive economic consequences for the destination and origin countries. In destination countries, they can lead to a shortage of workers, loss of productivity and price increases in sectors employing migrants, and overall loss of growth potential and competitiveness in the longer run. Forced expulsion can be administratively costly for destination country governments. Forced returns are also traumatic for the returnees, who may suffer psychological, social, and financial impacts. They also create economic challenges for origin countries. Many host countries offer financial incentives for migrants to return home, but the actual number of returnees tends to be low, and often, returnees migrate again. The effectiveness of return programs depends on the efforts of both destination and origin countries. 

This thematic area will explore the basis of policies to improve return and reintegration outcomes by conducting surveys on reintegration experiences and carrying out workshop and round-tables to discuss policies and experiences on reintegration of returnees; analyzing the impact of return in host communities; identify synergies and similarities on the impact of return processes, including the impact of returnee programs in the short, medium and long-term. 

Rosilyne Borland


Sonia Plaza
World Bank

Focal Point


March 9, 2016, Washington DC