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Types of Migration
Internal Migration
Global Labour Mobility
Child Migration
Skilled Migration
Forced Migration
Return Migration

Key Themes
Modelling Causes
and Consequences
Links between Migrations
Rural Poverty and Livelihoods
Social Protection
Gender and Generations
Health and Education

UK / international
Albania / Eastern Europe
Ghana / Africa
Egypt / the Middle East
Bangladesh and
South Asia




Project 9a
International Comparisons of Return to Poor Countries

There is growing interest in northern countries in promoting the return of various types of international migrant. Historically, this has involved the provision of incentives for voluntary return of economic migrants by various European countries as European economies have contracted, as well as limited schemes for post-conflict return of refugees. However, recent years have seen a new emphasis in Europe and the United States on promoting the return of refugees to countries such as Kosovo, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and now Iraq, whilst several countries have set in place measures to remove failed asylum-seekers to a range of other states considered to be ‘safe’. In the post 9-11 period, there have also been moves to deport individuals considered a threat to public order in the north.

Recent work at Sussex, and by IOM, has considered the ‘sustainability’ of return of at least one of these groups – the voluntary return of refugees and asylum-seekers to several different Central and Eastern European countries. However, these studies have identified competing measures of ‘sustainability’. The purpose of this initiative will be to take forward these two strands of research to operationalise an understanding of the sustainability of return from the perspective of poor countries. This will be done through a series of workshops designed to bring together researchers and policy-makers to consider in more depth the sustainability of return of (1) refugees and failed asylum-seekers in the Balkans and elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe; (2) the return of qualified professionals to the Asian region, and specifically to Bangladesh, and (3) the return of refugees and exiles in post-conflict countries, with a particular focus on Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Key Research Questions

How do different actors conceptualise the sustainability of return, and to what extent can a single conceptualisation be applied across different countries, and in relation to different kinds of return migration (specifically, return of failed asylum-seekers and undocumented migrants; return of refugees and exiles in post-conflict contexts; and the return of skilled professionals)?
Can cost-effective mechanisms be identified to monitor the sustainability of return, from a home country perspective, and with specific attention to impacts on poverty?
What policy interventions could help to promote sustainable return in different economic, political and geographical contexts?



Type(s) of Migration
Return Migration

UK and International


Richard Black

Richard Black (Sussex)
Ron Skeldon (Sussex)
Russell King (Sussex)
Saskia Gent (Sussex)
John Anarfi (ISSER)
Choudhury Abrar (RMMRU)

Key Activities


Concept paper on sustainability of return.

2.  Workshops in Korçë (Albania), Dhaka (Bangladesh) and Colombo (Sri Lanka).
3. Cross-national analysis of key issues and discussions with policy makers.

Key Outputs

A special issue of a journal or edited collection
Policy briefings highlighting how sustainability can be conceptualised and measured, with practical examples
Production of content for international and local media on the sustainability of return, and how this can be enhanced by policy-makers, returnees, and home communities


  © University of Sussex 2003 Text-Only
MDW Site design: Meta Design Work Ltd.
With thanks to IOM and Claudia Natali for the photographs