Migrants returning after some years overseas may have more money than before but can find it difficult to reintegrate into their communities. And they may not make the best use of their skills or of their savings.
Migrants, and especially women, often find it hard to readjust when they return. Long separation can cause problems in the home with both partners and children, leading to psychological and emotional stress. They may also discover that little remains of the remittances they have sent if their families have used the funds for basic survival or for consumption.
As a result many migrant workers are frequently pressured to re-migrate.
Having become accustomed to higher wages they can also struggle to find suitable employment. Even if they have savings to invest they can lack the skills to use these well in new businesses. Worst off of all are the returning victims of trafficking who will return with no funds and may not be readily accepted back into their home communities
Few countries have systematic programmes for addressing return migration. A survey by IOM, for example, found that out of nine Asian countries only two had reintegration
or counseling programmes.
What the ILO can offer
The ILO can assist governments in developing programmes for returnees. These could include, for example, training for entrepreneurship and on how to run small businesses. Support can come from the ILO Small Enterprise Development Team. This is part of the Job Creation and Enterprise Development Department within the ILO's Employment Sector. It works with the International Training Centre of the ILO in Turin to develop training and capacity building programmes for promoting sustainable small enterprises.
We are also reporting on success stories. At the request of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs the ILO has been profiling ex-migrants who have successfully reintegrated upon their return to India. These profiles are to be distributed as leaflets to prospective migrant workers to motivate them to plan early for their eventual return, and perhaps inspire them to become self-employed.
We have also been helping victims of trafficking. With support from the the UN Human Security Fund, were been carrying out programmes for economic and social empowerment of returning trafficking victims. In addition to offering various types of social support, we have been assisting with economic reintegration — career counseling, income generation activities, vocational training and services for job placement.