Re-Turn Migrant Survey Report: The Migrants Potential and Expectations

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1 Re-Turn Migrant Survey Report: The Migrants Potential and Expectations Thilo Lang, Aline Hämmerling, Jan Keil, Robert Nadler, Anika Schmidt, Stefan Haunstein (IfL), Stefanie Smoliner (ZSI) This project is implemented through the CENTRAL EUROPE Programme cofinanced by the ERDF.

2 Re-Turn Re-Turn is an acronym of the European project Regions benefitting from returning migrants. This document was prepared by the consortium of the Re-Turn project. For more information, please visit The project is funded by the ERDF in the frame of the CENTRAL EUROPE programme (contract no 1568CC19BC5FA1D9720AB3BD3220ACA9). Series editor and project coordination: Dr. Thilo Lang Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography Schongauerstraße Leipzig Tel.: Copyright Re-Turn Consortium, represented by Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography (IfL), All rights reserved. No part of this publication can be reproduced in any form, by print or photo print, microfilm or any other means, without written permission from the publisher. 2

3 Content 0. Executive Summary Introduction Researching return migration: state of the art and open questions Defining return migration Theorising return migration Typologies of returnees Empirical result of previous studies on return migration in Central Europe Open questions Hypotheses Methodology Definition of target groups Sampling frame: Selection of the countries resp. regions Sampling strategies The online survey The Re-Turn Questionnaire Data collection period Data and sample distribution Distribution of the sampling population by countries Description of the sampling population Merits and limitations of the study Migrant Stories Katarzyna Chelińska (Poland) Eszter Sziladi (Hungary) Joanna Męczyńska (Poland) Matthias Läufer (East Germany) Marianne Strahler (East Germany) Radek Horak (Czech Republic) Irena Šuler (Slovenia)

4 4.8 Vivien Horvat (Hungary) Global analysis: Central Eastern European (CEE) migrants an innovative potential for their home regions? General characteristics Theoretic assumptions and empirical findings Returnees age and qualification Motives of migration and motives of return Return: A consequence of failure? Return barriers: expectations and experiences Returnees potential for innovation Returnees willingness to compromise Conclusions Literature ANNEX: Country Reports

5 Index of Charts Fig. 1 : Data collection in months Fig. 2 : Data collection by groups Fig. 3 : Employment status abroad by migrant groups Fig. 4 : Educational level by migrant groups Fig. 5 : Marital status by migrant groups Fig. 6 : Parenthood by migrant groups Fig. 7 : Number of relocations since 2002 by migrant groups Fig. 8 : Destination regions of return by home country Fig. 9 : Maintenance of a household back home by migrant groups and home country Fig. 10 : Age cohorts by migrant groups Fig. 11 : Number of qualifications by migrant groups Fig. 12 : Types of qualifications by migrant groups Fig. 13 : English language level by groups Fig. 14 : Host country language level by groups Fig. 15 : Subjective improvement of language skills by migrant groups Fig. 16 : Intention to stay in host country by migrant groups Fig. 17 : Importance of emigration motives by migrant groups Fig. 18 : Satisfaction with conditions in the host country by migrant groups Fig. 19 : Motivation to stay and to return by migrant groups Fig. 20 : Factual income after emigration by migrant groups Fig. 21 : Average income of groups by migration periods Fig. 22 : Social acceptance in host country by migrant groups Fig. 23 : Experiences vs. Expectations of Returnees and potential Returnees.. 60 Fig. 24 : Experienced barriers of returnees by countries Fig. 25 : Expectations barriers of potential Returnees by countries Fig. 26 : Knowledge about return initiatives by countries Fig. 27 : Barriers to return Fig. 28 : Subjective evaluation of the job situation after emigration and after return for returnees

6 Fig. 29 Fig. 30 : Subjective evaluation of the income situation after emigration and return for returnees : Share of self-employees before and after emigration as well as after return by migrant groups Fig. 31 : Employment status of returnees by migration stages Fig. 32 : Employment status of returnees after return by countries Fig. 33 Fig. 34 : Appreciation of knowledge and skills brought from abroad in the professional environment after return by countries : Importance of knowledge and skills for re-integration in the labour market (in%) Fig. 35 : Acceptance of worse working conditions Fig. 36 : Acceptance of worse working conditions by countries Fig. 37 : Connection modes with home country by migrant groups

7 Index of Tables Tab. 1 : Overview of deleted cases Tab. 2 : Sampling population by country: valid numbers Tab. 3 : Socio-demographic characteristics of the global sampling population 28 Tab. 4 : Subgroups by countries Tab. 5 : Age groups by countries: total population compared to returnees Tab. 6 : Percentage of tertiary education by countries (LSF) and in Re-Turn Survey

8 0. Executive Summary Since migration flows increase within the EU and are becoming especially more circular in Central Europe, return migration can no longer be seen as a marginal phenomenon. Due to the fact that the share of nationals among immigrants is above EU average in Central Europe s member states, the survey area and Re-Turn project partners are located in seven Central and Eastern European countries. The purpose of the Re-Turn online survey is to investigate the decision making and the considerations which emigrants and return migrants are dealing with. Further the project wants to evaluate how return migrants can impact regional development in their respective home regions. The Re-Turn online survey also tries to inform the development of a set of tools assisting return migrants on their way back home. To achieve the mentioned goals several working hypotheses were developed out of the theoretical framework of the study. Before starting data collection the target groups had to be defined. In this process two groups were identified. One being emigrants who had already returned (return migrants) and the other one being emigrants who are currently living abroad and who do or do not consider a return. The study areas were chosen from the fact that they all are rural and peripheral regions in New EU-Member states that experienced strong emigration since 2004 and are dealing with weak labour markets. Because of the target group being spread internationally and due to restrictions regarding the project s resources an online survey was chosen to generate data. For increasing the number of survey participants, the survey was promoted through websites that are frequently visited by members of the target population and also via newspapers, radio stations and social networks. Since internet-based data collection has several shortcomings (e.g. no representativity), the results have to be interpreted cautiously. During a period of eight month between December 2011 and August 2012 over 3,000 participants answered the survey. After data cleansing almost 2,000 cases remained in the sample, providing valid information for the main variables. Although the sampling population shows big differences in the number of participants concerning their nationality and has a well above average educational background, important information regarding the motives, prerequisites and labour market performance was provided. The results of the Re-Turn survey are, among others, that the return of emigrants results out of differing qualifications, experiences in the host country and motives of staying, or respectively leaving. The survey also shows that most of the emigrants return successfully and consider the return easy. Another exemplary conclusion is that return is less driven by economic reasons than private and social motives. 8

9 1. Introduction The main objective of the Re-Turn project is the re-attraction and re-integration of former emigrants. Therefore a detailed understanding of these migrants situations and circumstances is of crucial importance. In the frame of the Re-Turn project, an online survey had been designed to shed light on questions concerning the decision and probability of return and the attributes which remigrants 1 bring with them. This survey was conducted in all of the seven Central and Eastern European countries participating in the project. Return migration, i.e. the return of emigrants to their home country after at least six months abroad, is not a marginal phenomenon in Central Europe and might gain importance in the years to come (Smoliner et al. 2011). The share of nationals among immigrants is especially high in the EU member states that joined the European Union in 2004 (Smoliner et al. 2011). Numerous empirical inquiries and various approaches are trying to identify prerequisites and effects of return migration from macrostructures to individual decisions and motives, but still the understanding remains blurry (Cassarino 2004: 1). Within international discussions about brain drain and brain circulation (e.g. Salt 1983; Beine et al. 2001; Mayr & Peri 2009; Horvat 2004) an inclusion of return migration can offer new opportunities and perspectives as it has a potential to reverse negative outcomes of emigration (e.g. Hunger 2004, Klagge et al. 2007). Migrants gain human capital and special experience so that especially the highly skilled returnees are seen as possible drivers of innovation (Cassarino 2004). As such remigration is not only an important process for those migrating, but can have relevance for regional economic development, too (Matuschewski 2010). These recognitions have led to some empirical studies on return migrants success and performance in home country labour markets (e.g. Co et al. 2000, Martin & Radu 2012; Iara 2008; de Coulon & Piracha 2005). Yet, findings show different evidence and are restricted in their validity and comparability due to different scales of research (region, country, several countries) and diverging theoretical perspectives, showing a tendency to analyse economic effects. Re-Turn project partners recognised this lack of research on transnational labour mobility, including motives, prerequisites and labour market performance of migrants. A main objective was to analyse the potential of return migration for regional development. This report provides an insight into current research on return migration, especially in Central Europe, and presents findings of the empirical study conducted within 1 In the frame of the Re-Turn project as well as in this report the terms remigrants, returnee or returned migrant are used for those migrants who went abroad (or in the case of East Germans to Western Germany) and who already moved back to their home country (respectively Eastern Germany for East Germans). By contrast, those migrants who are still living in their host country abroad (or East Germans in Western Germany) we apply the terms emigrant. We also differentiate between potential returnee, potential remigrant for those who are willing to return, and stayers for those who want to stay abroad. 9

10 the project Re-Turn. Chapter 2 provides an overview of theoretical approaches, different typologies of returnees and empirical observations of previous studies providing the basis for the Re-turn online survey. Based on the literature review some working hypotheses will be derived. In chapter 3, an explanation of the applied methodology will be given, outlining sampling strategies and sampling outcomes as well as the application of the online survey as interview tool. As quantitative surveys present findings using aggregate and abstract data, we decided to insert a set of individual life stories of return migrants in chapter 4. These life stories should illustrate in which circumstances migrants operate in the European Union. Upon invitation during field work in the pilot regions, these stories were sent to the Re-Turn team from remigrants who we have met during the project. Chapter 5 then leads back to the survey data. It provides a global analysis of the preceding theoretical and empirical references and findings of the online survey deducing implications for the innovation potential of CEE migrants for their home regions. A thorough insight in the secrets of remigration is crucial for the understanding of the influence of regional contexts and an improvement of the reintegration conditions for those willing to return. With reference to such findings, the creation of better framework conditions to retain human capital would be facilitated and could lead to the reversal of brain drain through return migration, being an important factor of regional economic development (Matuschewski 2010). The report finishes with a conclusion in chapter 6. For the interested reader the annex contains a set of country reports in which the survey results are differentiated by the national contexts. 2. Researching return migration: state of the art and open questions The following section of the report shall provide an overview of conceptual approaches and theories on return migration. It will give an insight into the findings of some empirical studies and their implications for the understanding of returnees characteristics and resources, as well as their professional performance on local labour markets upon return. Return migration is a sparsely treated aspect of the otherwise broadly studied field of migration. International studies are, to a large extent, focusing on the decision to return and reintegration processes upon return (Carling et al. 2011: 3). Due to global economic changes and increased accessibility to means of transport and communication the processes and patterns of migration have become more complex (Pries 2008: 5). Approaches to analyse migration have widened and the consciousness that migration can no longer be seen as a one-dimensional movement, but as including new patterns and arrangements, like temporary migration and circular migration, has risen. Within this context, return migration can be seen as a sub-process of international migration (Cassarino 2004: 1). 10

11 2.1 Defining return migration There is no clear definition of return migration. However there is widespread use of the definition formulated by the United Nations Statistics Division for collecting data on international migration, according to which returnees are persons returning to their country of citizenship after having been international migrants (whether short-term or long-term) in another country and who are intending to stay in their own country for at least a year (SOPEMI 2008: 164). A central assumption in this definition is that a person s country of origin is also their country of citizenship. Yet, there is the possibility that the migrant has obtained citizenship of the destination country or could have two citizenships. Also, return migration, even if taking place to the country of origin is not necessarily directed to the city or region from where emigration once took place within this country. Still, the definition pays attention to the observation that migration and remigration are no longer seen as singular movement, but need to be understood as a long term process of recurring changes of residency (Pries 2008:6). Due to these critical aspects, the definition by the United Nations Statistics Division (SOPEMI 2008: 164) is not giving a practical clarification of returnees in the context of the Re-Turn project. There would have been the possibility to define returnees by their country of birth as this is less likely subject to change (only if country structures change; cf. Smoliner et al. 2011). However, an important issue should not be forgotten: the migrants themselves develop feelings of home and belonging which was considered far more important for the definition of return than formal criteria such as place of birth or citizenship. In this respect the place of birth can lose the emotionally binding function for a person throughout life course. For this reason, migrants identified themselves as returnees through a logic filter in the Re-Turn online survey: they had to indicate themselves which country and place they consider their home country/place of home. Return migrants were then defined as those ones, who have return to their home country after having spent time elsewhere. 2.2 Theorising return migration There are various theoretical concepts to analyse return migration, each with different foci on migrants characteristics, environments, expectations and motives determining the decision to return. In this chapter, there is only a basic and simplified description of theoretical concepts, which was derived from a more detailed and profound discussion in the former Re-Turn report titled Comparative Report on Re-Migration Trends in Central Europe by Smoliner et al. (2011). The theoretical approaches mentioned in the following sections are considered relevant to come to a basic understanding of return migration. They vary in terms of the level of analysis, the motives and prerequisites that are considered central for the decision to emigrate and return, and finally the range of dimensions they acknowledge in their approaches. 11

12 The Neoclassical Approach sees the migrant mostly as a rationally acting individual seeking to maximise earnings and career opportunities for which emigration is one possible means. The remigration to the home country takes place when the migrant has failed to reach the objectives within their migration strategy, be it because of an underestimation of the difficulties abroad, problems with making use of qualifications or a shortage of relevant capacities of information (Cassarino 2004: 2f.). The New Economics of Labour approach also considers migration as a strategy to receive higher income or enhance the ability to accumulate savings, but within this theoretical approach the return is seen as a logical consequence of the successful achievement of migration related objectives and targets (Smoliner 2011: 12). According to Cassarino (2004: 3) return migration is part of a calculated strategy and it is a natural outcome of a successful experience abroad. Taking into consideration, that the migrant is likely to give financial support to their family or household in the country of origin (through remittances while abroad), it is important to state, that the decision for migration and return within the migration strategy, is to be seen as a decision of the migrants household or social networks, not of the individual itself (Pries 2008: 6). Both approaches can be criticised for their restrictive focus on financial and economic factors without explaining how remittances and the human capital accumulated through migration can be used as resource for development in the countries of origin (Cassarino 2004: 3), or how the process of return is planned (Smoliner et al. 2011: 13). They fail to consider regional framework conditions as important parameters for the decision to return and for the reintegration process (Matuschewski 2010: 82). The Push-Pull-Model formulated by Lee (1966) is based on Ravenstein s (1885) (cited in Schmithals 2010: 284) assumption that migration to regions with good opportunities is notably determined by the lack of opportunities in other regions a relationship that shapes international migration flows in general. Migration is seen as a consequence of different wages and employment opportunities and a means to enhance living opportunities. It leads to flows between regions with a demand for work force and the regions with an oversupply, creating an interrelated Push-Pull- Framework (see Pries 2008: 6). Main migration flows always create counter flows of return which can be explained by the migrants acquisition of new skills, experiences and capital, the rising awareness of opportunities at home or private reasons like parenthood. All of these aspects change the conditions under which the decision for emigration had been taken and allow a return on improved terms and with new perspectives (Lee 1966: 22, cited in Schmithals 2010: 284). Another approach to remigration is the Structural Approach, which is based on the observation that the social and institutional context and area of settlement upon return need to be taken into consideration when trying to investigate reintegration processes and the innovation potential of returnees (Cassarino 2004: 4). In the last four decades research on return migration has widened in the context of interdisciplinarity. When sociologists, social geographers and anthropologists 12

13 started to get involved, esp. when studying the integration processes of the socalled guest workers in Germany, it became clear that besides financial and economic resources attention needs to be paid to situational and contextual factors (Smoliner et al. 2011: 14). The Transnational Approach and the Social Network Theory both acknowledge the importance of strong social and economic ties between the host and home country for the process of return. Return migration is not perceived as the end of a migration process, but rather as a part of a migration cycle (Smoliner et al. 2011: 15). According to the Transnational Approach, reintegration is facilitated by regular visits to the home country and a system of social and economic relationships and exchanges providing knowledge, information and membership. In this transnational network ethnicity, shared origin and kinship play a central role (Cassarino 2004: 7f.), whereas in the Social Network Theory the emphasis lies on a commonality of interests and values more than on attributes like ethnicity. Both approaches stress the return migrants subjective perceptions of home (as place of origin or country of birth) and its impact on the decision to return, after which returnees might face problems to adapt and difficulties of social and professional integration (ibid. 2004: 8). Return basically takes place, when conditions at home are seen as favourable and the objectives of acquired resources, be they financial or informational, are met (ibid. 2004: 10). The centre of research no longer lies in the study of one or two changes of residence, but in the creation of a new form of transnational social spaces, created through circular processes of migration in dense networks across borders (Pries 2008: 7). Matuschewksi (2010: 84) points to the fact, that the perception, which a migrant has of the region of origin, is determining the decision to return or stay abroad. Transnational migration networks can influence these perceptions, as they fulfil preparatory and organisational functions. As a conclusion after discussing existing theoretical concepts, Cassarino (2004) points to the need for a Revisited Approach to return migration. The existing theoretical frameworks would not pay enough attention to the diversification of return motivations and migration flows. Cheaper transport and technological means of communication made migration a multiple-stage process and allowed migrants to prepare for their return on the basis of an unprecedented extend of information flows and strong cross-border links. Different patterns of resource mobilisation would be responsive to specific institutional, political and economic conditions in the country of origin and decisively shape the returnees ability to be an actor of change (ibid.: 16f.). These resources include financial and social capital (social contacts, relationships) as well as human capital (acquired skills and knowledge). The mobilisation of such resources is closely related to the preparedness of the return migrant. Following the assumption that return is a voluntary act, the readiness for post-return conditions at home also plays a crucial role within the return process. Such readiness for return is shaped by individual perceptions of institutional, economic and political changes in the home country, based on sufficient resources and information (ibid.: 17f.). 13

14 Asking for the relation between return migration and regional development, Iara (2008: 33) points to the potential of temporary migrants returning to Central and Eastern Europe to contribute to the economic catch-up of their home countries. They can have a positive impact on local labour markets due to the exchange of professional knowledge. According to Matuschewski (2010: 82) regional development cannot only be stabilized by the knowledge transfer through formal publications and cooperation, but also through the mobility of tacit knowledge in persons, meaning the transfer of human capital through migration. In this sense, temporary migration may contribute to knowledge diffusion and an increased (international) economic integration both of countries and regions via tightening international ties (see Iara 2008: 2). The impact of the returnee s activity is influenced by spatial aspects, in the sense of returning to urban or rural areas, and aspects of time (Cassarino 2004: 5f.). The latter refers to the duration of the stay abroad and contextual differences before and after migration, both shaping the ability to acquire skills and maintaining (close) contacts to the home country. The returnees potential to have an innovative impact is in a certain way constrained by traditional values and patterns of behaviour in the country of origin (Smoliner et al. 2011: 15). A central question in Cassarinos (2004) work is, why some returnees turn out to be actors of change and others not. He states, that this question needs to be answered according to their preparedness (understood as willingness and readiness) and the extent to which they can mobilise resources. The influential networks within which they act, do not emerge spontaneously, but are dependent on pre- and post-return conditions. These conditions are responsive to contextual and institutional factors. Thus, this extremely heterogeneous group s post-return potential for (regional) development varies significantly from case to case (ibid.: 16). 2.3 Typologies of returnees A lot of authors have formulated typologies to classify remigrants and their potential (economic) influence, based on different theoretical assumptions and relating to a variety of main characteristics like motives of (re)migration, duration of stay or performance upon return. One of the first typologies of international migration that takes temporary migration into consideration and thus also the aspect of return was developed by the British demographer and migration researcher Ernest G. Ravenstein (1872 cit. after Pries 2008: 6). He concentrated on aspects of duration (several stages of migration, temporary migration) and spatial dimensions of migration (close, local or distant destinations). Another typology by Cerase (1974) takes into account that return migrants follow different expectations and motivations. Yet, this typology is basically limited to economic argumentations. Based on his research findings on Italians returning from the USA, he distinguished the following types of remigrants: return of failure: return as a consequence of difficulties in host country, 14

15 return of conservatism: professional life was satisfying, but return after strategic economic goal is achieved (e.g. finance accumulation), no interest in innovation and change of social context in home country, return of retirement: reaching pension age, followed by little investment, return of innovation: expect new possibilities in their home country, return is accompanied with social and economic activity. Returnees of the last type within Cerase s framework have the most concrete expectations to return migration and they want to use their potential to be the carrier of social change, consequently contributing to innovation in the home region (Cerase 1974: 258). Migrants return with the expectation that acquired new ideas, traits and values would give them the ability to solve problems and bring efficient thinking into the group they see themselves part of (see Cerase 1974: 258). Thus return of innovation can be seen as the most dynamic category of all these types of return (Smoliner et al. 2011: 14). Unger s typology, also based on empirical findings, distinguishes between the following types of remigrants, adding structural aspects to her conceptualisation (1982, cited in Dienel et al. 2005: 12f.): traditional remigration: closely related to Cerase s return of conservatism, the stay abroad is above all determined to lead to improved living conditions upon return, structural remigration: return as a consequence of not being able to meet planned goals, because of lacking success, unsatisfying working conditions or unemployment (similar to Cerase s return of failure ), planned remigration: self-set objectives could be reached and return takes place in order to implement plans in home country, family remigration: migrant is successfully integrated in migration context abroad, but private reasons (family, health problems, caring for relatives) lead to remigration. As the settings of return might vary significantly, Cassarino (2004) sets up a typology of returnees beyond the success-failure dichotomy (cf. Neoclassical Approach and the New Economies of Labour in section 2.2). Relating to pre-return conditions and post-return conditions, he clusters the heterogeneous group of return migrants into those with a high level of preparedness, those with a low level of preparedness and those without any preparation (ibid: 19f.). While for the first group, the propensity to be an actor for change is high and public programmes aiming at repatriating these skilled and business returnees might just be perceived as a positive signal from the government, for the second group, these programmes might even be of crucial importance for a successful reintegration, both concerning social and labour market aspects. By contrast, focussing on the third group might not lead to success for repatriation initiatives. A single focus only on economic motives or only on social aspects would lead to a narrowed 15

16 understanding of the expectations and reasons of remigration as well as the returnees context-related potential for regional development. Besides the mentioned typologies that above all relate to rational economic decisions and general professional settings, thus following neoclassical theoretical assumptions, there are further approaches to identify groups of returnees that also take additional social and structural aspects into consideration. With an emphasis on the motives that played a role for the decision to return, Dienel et al. (2006) try to develop a typology based on interviews with return migrants who migrated from Eastern to Western Germany. Besides the already mentioned types of remigrants who first and foremost relate to attributes like failure or success (relating to professional or economic aspects), retirement or planned return after training and education, Dienel et al. (2006: 77ff.) identify additional types where more or less private aspects prevail and social networks have an influence: family returnees: searching stability within the families social ties, relationship returnees: willingness to live with partner, emotional returnees: feeling of home (sickness) and return to existing social networks, returnees out of traditional attachment or real estate ownership: returning due to an inherited real estate or self-built private residential house. Motives like private and emotional satisfaction and better living conditions in general (natural landscape, child care, etc.) cannot be described economically but can still lead to a decision to return without professional success (see Matuschewski 2010: 85). Based on the already existing typologies (see section 2.1.; especially Cerase s typology (1974)) and the Re-Turn project s conceptual framework with a focus on labour migration, we used a condensed typology of return migrants referring to the individual motives for return: 1. return of failure: strongly relating to the neoclassical approach and the assumption that return follows certain unsuccessful performances on the labour market, personal disappointment, unemployment, etc. (see Cerase 1974, or structural remigration as formulated by Unger 1982, cited in Dienel et al. 2005: 12f.) 2. return of conservatism: relates to the perspective, that return might be planned or is at least not happening as a consequence of failure, but following the achievement of goals that allow to return and follow traditional or conservative patterns in the home society, not taking advantage of acquired human capital or knowledge from abroad (see Cerase 1974, also return of tradition by Unger 1982, cited in Dienel et al. 2005: 12f.) 3. return of retirement: return is a consequence of going on pension, possibly leading to investment, e.g. in housing, but no further innovative impact. 16

17 4. return of innovation: return takes place when a migrant has reached their self-defined goals or those expected within their social network, like a higher level of education, qualifications, knowledge or financial resources. The perception of the home region includes a favourable situation for the usage of those resources for innovative purposes, such as self-employment. 5. private/social return: decision to return is mainly influences by private or emotional aspects (e.g. health problems, marriage, birth of children, attachment to home region/town, willingness to live closer to friends/family, property/heritage) The motives behind return might overlap and several of the mentioned types might apply to one person. As an analytical frame, such typology is notwithstanding an interesting categorisation for return migrants motives and performances. Whereas type 1, 2 and 3 follow economically centred theoretical assumptions, like in the Neoclassical Approach and the New Economics of Labour, the last two types return of innovation and private/social return relate to the embedding of the migrant in social and network structures that shape the patterns and decisions of migration and remigration. They also mirror the conclusion as in a structuralist approaches that the social, political and economic situations in the region of migration and the home regions are of relevance, and that their respective perception shapes the decision to migrate and consequently transfer one s knowledge and experiences (see Matuschewski 2010). 2.4 Empirical result of previous studies on return migration in Central Europe Concerning socio-economic and demographic characteristics return migrants tend to be younger not only in comparison to non-migrants, but also to those who stayed abroad (Martin & Radu 2012:116; Smoliner et al. 2011: 53f.), and they attained more years of formal education than those that did not migrate (Martin & Radu 2012: 124). Klagge et al. (2007: 10f.) showed that the rate of Polish return migrants holding a university degree is higher than the rate for permanent emigrants as well as adult Polish population, and that 74% of this group of highskilled return migrant is between 20 and 49 years (45% from 20 to 39 years). According to Iara (2008), a higher level of education seems to raise the propensity for Central and Eastern European (CEE) citizens to participate in Western European labour markets. Iara concludes that temporary migration appears to improve the labour market situation of those who are in a relatively advantageous position already, instead of being equally accessible to the more disadvantaged (Iara 2008: 33). With regard to gender issues, sources are rare. Wiest et al. (2009: 378) could find a higher propensity for male migrants to return to their home region in Saxony-Anhalt in Germany, than for women. In the European context, this finding can only be supported for Poland, where 60% of the returnees between 2005 and 2008 were male (Smoliner et al. 2011: 54, based on LFS data from ). Contrary, Smoliner et al. (2011: 54) showed that the number of male returnees roughly equals the number of female returnees in Czech Republic, Germany, 17

18 Hungary and Italy, whereas findings for Austria showed a rate of 60% of female returnees. Social ties to the home country during the stay abroad seem to be of great relevance for the process of return and reintegration. Evidence shows that most migrants stay in contact with friends and family at home and that those contacts can be pull-factors for return migration (i.a. Beck 2004; Wiest et al. 2009; Klagge et al. 2007). For the German context of East-West migration Wiest et al. (2009: 376) show a very significant relation between the probability to return and the density of social ties to the home region, e.g. in the form of visits or telephone calls. With regard to human capital and labour market performance, return migrants seem to profit from their stay abroad. When looking at several studies on return migration a tendency to income benefits after return is observable (Martin & Radu 2012; Hazans 2008; Iara 2008). However, findings concerning gender are mixed or not included in this study of income premia (Co et al. 2000: 64f., Iara 2008: 12) and the comparability of studies is questionable due to country specific data and different types of analysis as well as the data bases used. In Iara's (2008: i) study young and male return migrants earn an average wage premium of 30% on CEE labour markets if they have Western European work experience. Interestingly no wage premia can be found for labour market experience in other CEE countries. As a possible explanation for the wage premium, Iara (2008) interprets these findings with an upgrade in skills, and thus human capital, through learning on the job in countries with higher technological development, adding to know-how diffusion to CEE countries. Additionally, work experience in Western European countries might make employers expect a higher productivity and thus enhance their willingness to pay higher incomes. Co et al. (2000) examine labour market performance of return migrants using the Hungarian Household Panel Survey. Their findings interestingly differ in relation to the returnees gender, as there is a definite premium to work experience abroad for women, but the difference in earnings of men who have been abroad to those who have not been abroad is statistically not significant (Co et al. 2000: 64f.). They offer a possible explanation for this difference when referring to the specific professional branches, such as financial industries, that female returnees enter. These professional branches are characterized by their specific validation of work experience from abroad. Furthermore, they suggest that opposing effects lead to the insignificant wage premium for male returnees, as having gone abroad is generally rewarded, but overlaid by the loss of contacts and networks through migration (ibid.: 71). Likewise Martin & Radu (2012) argue that a negative selection of return migrants is observable, which means if return migrants had decided not to move their earnings would have been lower than that of a randomly selected non-migrant (ibid. 2012: 120). Such different human capital characteristics lead to different rewards that migrants can receive: the less educated of the movers fare significantly worse than the stayers, compared with the better educated in the respective group (Iara 2008: 32). Still, Martin & Radu s statistical analysis of return 18

19 migration in CEE countries based on the Labour Force Survey data shows a wage premia both for self-employed and dependently employed return migrants of 10% to 30% (Martin/Radu 2012: 120). Relating to the returnees level of education, different findings exist for the ability to enhance career opportunities or contrastingly a fragmentation of the career (Smoliner 2011: 8). Martin & Radu (2012: 122) found out, that return migrants have a higher probability to be either not participating in the labour market or to be self-employed, but a lower probability to be dependently employed. This finding is even more significant for male returnees than for female remigrants and for returnees with higher education. They (ibid. 2012: 122) suggest a possible explanation for this constellation based on the returnees lack of characteristics valued on home country s labour markets (specific local labour market experience and local human capital, network ties) and their asset of others that can be used for self-employment (entrepreneurial skills, risk-taking propensity). For their study of return migration to Albania, de Coulon & Piracha (2005) also found a large proportion of migrants to become self-employed after their return. Klagge et al. (2007:12) substantiate this finding for Poland, where different evidence is obtained, as highly-skilled returnees are mainly employees, but less-skilled returnees are more likely to start their own business. This could mean that they are actively taking advantage of skills and experiences obtained abroad, but selfemployment could as well be seen as an economic strategy due to problems they are facing while and after returning, and trying to reintegrate in local employment structures. The probability to not actively participate on local labour markets is higher for returnees than for non-migrants (Martin & Radu 2012; Smoliner et al. 2011: 52). A possible explanation for this finding could be the returnees lack of social ties and networks, which usually help to find a decent job on the home country labour market. Employers might be unsure about the value of foreign work experience or interpret them as a failure on the local labour market and thus prefer employees with a domestic human capital (Hazans 2008: 3). Contrastingly to this, Hazans (2008: 3) suggests an additional theoretical perspective according to which the returnee s savings gathered during the stay abroad enable them to spend more time to find a job that suits their higher expectations in terms of income and career opportunities. In relation to all these findings on different wages upon return and career effects, it is important to stress the fact that a decision to return is often be based on private reasons, and in this case worse working and employment conditions are perceived acceptable (Schmithals 2010: 292; Matuschewski 2010: 85). 2.5 Open questions Even if research on remigration has broadened in the last years, there are still a variety of aspects with a need for further clarification. Firstly, researchers are confronted with a lack of data that allow deeper analysis which is viable not only relating to larger samples but also for a greater comparable set of countries in 19

20 Central and Eastern Europe. Relatively little empirical findings exist on labour market behaviour and integration of highly qualified return migrants (Smoliner 2011: 10). Furthermore, studies giving an insight into income premia of returnees, effects of qualifications and the human capital (obtained through the experience of migration) as well as self-employment, are not producing reliable findings that could be transferred to other country settings and related to the different kinds of returnees (concerning qualifications, education, age, gender). Besides this, most data sets do not allow drawing conclusions on the region of return, where remigration is directed to. Even if Smoliner et al. (2011) analysed Labour Force Survey data according to the country of return, it is not possible to draw conclusions if the return region is identical to the region of emigration. Martin & Radu (2012) stress the importance of regional ties due to networks, peer pressure and local interactions as migrants cluster in specific regions in the country of emigration and in their home country after return. Yet, they do not provide reliable empirical evidence (Martin & Radu 2012: 120). Furthermore, there is a lack of empirical findings paying attention to gender and a viable framework to measure regional economic effects. 2.6 Hypotheses The project Re-Turn had the objective to bring light to some of the open questions on the characteristics of return migrants in Central and Eastern Europe and constructed a framework within which reliable data should be delivered. Such data could be the basis for the design of policies and return initiatives. The data collection process in the frame of the Re-Turn project looked to improve existing inconsistencies in remigration literature and it will be orientated on the following main hypotheses: Returnees are young, competent and qualified above average (Martin & Radu 2012; Klagge et al. 2007; Iara 2008). The proof of this hypothesis might be especially interesting for an estimation of the role of return migration for knowledge-based regional economic development. The decision of returning and staying abroad is driven by motives which are different from those leading to emigration (Lee 1966:22). The intention to migrate might already include the plan to return. This would have an impact on the duration of migration and the moment of return, as it is not a one directional movement, but might be organised as a circular pattern (see part on New Economics of Labour, section 2.1). Return is to a large extent the consequence of failure and lacking economic success in the host country. Following the basic assumption of neoclassical theories, the main motive for return migration is to be seen in unachieved goals in the country of destination. Returnees experience barriers while returning and after the return (Martin & Radu 2012; Co et al. 2000; Smoliner 2011). Such barriers might evolve as a 20

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