Return Migration in South Mediterranean Countries: Determinants, Impact and Policy Implications

Over the last few recent decades, international migration from North Africa to Europe has been on the increase. Thus, many policymakers in the host countries are advocating circular or temporary migration as a panacea. Nevertheless little is known about temporary migration: Who returns? Why? What are the implications? Developing sound policies requires a good knowledge of return migration as well as a deeper understanding of its implications. Hence, this project focuses on South-Med countries (Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt) to answer a number of important questions on the determinants and the implications of return migration for the migrant and the home country. First, we focus on the migration decision. We build a better picture of current Moroccan and Egyptian migrants’ characteristics. Then we examine who wants to migrate by examining the characteristics of those aspiring to migrate among Egyptians and Tunisians, before investigating the determinants of emigration by examining the migration intentions of younger people in Egypt. We find evidence that the more educated are more likely to aspire to migrate. Yet, also those who plan to migrate invest more in education. Secondly, we study the characteristics of Egyptian and Moroccan return migrants. We then investigate the determinants of return migration by examining return intentions among current Moroccan migrants. We find strong correlation between return intentions and realised and planned investment in the country of origin. Thirdly, we highlight the impact of return migration on human capital accumulation and entrepreneurship, and the role played by migration policies on return. Finally, we discuss the policy implications of our findings.