Date: 6 September 2012

Location: Conference Room B (North Lawn Building)


Where migrants are forced to suddenly return to their home countries, they might return to situations of poverty including unemployment and indebtedness. They may also face discrimination and rejection in their own communities, which can yield great psychological distress and further destabilize already fragile societies. This may be further exacerbated with many returning without their assets, personal possessions and lost wages.

Migrants also face specific post-crisis vulnerabilities, including loss of income and livelihood that often affects entire families and communities. The loss of remittances can be devastating for already fragile societies and the social and economic effects of forced return could exacerbate tensions faced by migrants and local populations alike. In areas heavily impacted by returnees, youth are particularly at risk for recruitment into illegal and extremist groups that promise attractive economic options. This in turn threatens the stability of societies who face great economic and security threats from lack of resources to manage high influx of returns.

The recent events in the Sahel, whose countries have experienced large-scale returns of migrant workers and their families from the Libyan crisis in 2011, shed light on the challenges of repatriating and reintegrating labour migrants to their countries of origin. As recent events in neighbouring states such as Mali, Niger and Chad—countries who experienced large influx of returning migrants— confirm, in addition to considerable challenges in protecting and safely evacuating migrant workers from crisis-affected host countries, mass influx of migrant workers returning to their countries of origin can destabilize fragile communities who are already impoverished and facing economic and social hardship.

This seminar will seek to explore the challenges faced by returning migrants, with particular focus on returning labour migrants. It will emphasize durable long-term solutions to reintegration practices including adequate migration management and preparedness for returns and reintegration en masse, as well as reintegration activities aimed at community stabilization, and at seasonal and individual returnees.

Information note