Return migration after an end to conflict or persecution, as the conclusion to a successful economic migration, or as a factor in managed migration (including forcible returns), is often the goal of governments. Under certain circumstances, return is also the goal or ambition of some migrants. Few could argue that it is desirable for such return to be sustainable. Yet, the notion of a 'sustainable return' is contested, and could be conceptualised in a number of different ways.
This briefing reviews competing definitions of sustainable return and explores how the sustainability of return might be measured. It is argued that instead of focusing on individual returns, it is important to place return in a wider context. This includes the context of many different people being affected; the context of wider patterns of mobility before and after the 'act' of return; and the context of wider political, socio-economic and cultural change. Looking at these contexts provides a framework for measurement of sustainability as well as pointers towards beneficial policy interventions.
Sussex, UK, DRC on Migration, Globalisation and Poverty, 4 pp.