New Opportunities for Returnees

Starving refugees in flimsy boats, terrified eyes peering from behind bars – immigration stories are often illustrated with negative pictures. But migration also offers great opportunities.

Young professional

After getting a degree or working for some years in Europe, many immigrants ask themselves what they want to do next: stay or go back home? Depending on what qualifications or working experience they’ve gotten in Europe, there may be new possibilities for them.

“Brain drain” is a well-known phenomenon: If more and more young, ambitious and qualified people from developing countries look for a better future in a foreign country, they cannot help develop the economies in their home countries.

That’s why the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration, for example, endorses a concept called “circular migration.” They say more immigrants should be granted a study or working permit in Europe on the condition that they promise to return home after a certain number of years. So their home countries would profit not only from the remittances migrants send from Europe but also later on from their new qualifications and experience.

Even now there are numerous programs that help returnees establish a new livelihood back home. They are run by different governmental and non-governmental organizations, and many of them are supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. For example, the German Academic Exchange Service grants scholarships to young academics and researchers. Other organizations support returnees setting up businesses.

Useful Links:

– DW