Experiences and expectations of return of new Portuguese emigrants: reintegration and mobilities

From 2005 onwards, Portugal registered an intensification of emigration flows that produced important demographic, social and economic impacts in the country. With the easing of the crisis, the return to growth and new crises in the EU (Brexit, anti-immigrant movements in several countries, etc.), there is the expectation of returns movements to Portugal. These returns may contribute to the demographic and economic development of the country, due to investments that can be made and, also, due to the transfer of knowledge accumulated during migrants? residence abroad. This study aims to study the return of Portuguese emigrants, with a focus on some of the main destination countries in recent years, such as the United Kingdom, France and Luxembourg, in order to be able to take into consideration the influence of contextual differences on the decision-making process and on the effective experience of return. Complementing the project REMIGR [2014- 2016], the study will focus on the expectations and experiences of return of migrants, the role of host society integration for the decision/predisposition to return, the development of different forms of mobility between countries of origin and destination and the potential of migrants (effective or potential returnees) for the promotion of regional development in the areas of origin of emigrants, issues which have received little attention in the analysis of Portuguese emigration, despite emigration has always been accompanied by some return flows. In general terms the project studies Portuguese emigrants and returned emigrants, regardless of level of qualification, seeking to answer the following questions: a) which factors influence migrants return intentions and decisions? b) how the increasing forms of circulation allow to implement and/or delay the return projects and contribute to support the development of transnational practices between the country of destination and of origin? c) what is the potential for the mobilization of skills, experiences and resources of these migrants to regional capacity building and to the elaboration of strategies for innovation and regional development? At the theoretical level, the main research question is to comprehend the perspectives of return of emigrants and the relations (of different types) that emigrants maintain with their country of origin. The concept of 'return orientation' or 'return expectation' appears to be theoretically fruitful since it didn?t exclude, nor make incompatible, the migrants permanence. Even when the return isn?t achieved the predisposition to return to their country of origin plays economic, cultural and psychological functions that should not be neglected. The methodology combines an extensive and intensive approach, resorting to the analysis of documents, interviews with privileged informants, survey (online and face-to-face) and interviews with emigrants and recent returnees.

Start Date
End Date
Project Funding
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
External Partners
CIES-Iscte - Centre for Research and Studies in Sociology
Centro de Estudos Sociais da Universidade de Coimbra
Polytechnic of Leiria
Data from Ciência-IUL