New research network on return migration led by the MWG-NW director, Dr Zana Vathi

The Migration Working Group – North West (MWG-NW) has been awarded seed funding by IMISCOE  for a new research network on return migration. Entitled ‘Revisiting Return Migration in Shifting Geopolitics’, the RET-MIG network is based on the observation that the symbolic and the instrumental positioning of return migration within public discourse and migration agendas is changing. Multiple stakeholders are involved in these changes and in their implications, but the dynamics and consequences for migrants and their families are not explored in depth. Therefore, the initiative aims:

  • To develop a coherent international academic narrative and foster networking on return migration in the context of contemporary geopolitical and social shifts
  • To theorise the recent state and non-state practices and transformations of return migration and the implications for the involved stakeholders
  • To advance research on the most innovative and unexplored aspects of return migration in order to promote cross-national dialogue between research, policy making and professional practice

In relation to these aims, RET-MIG will focus on understudied or politically underestimated topics with high relevance to policy-making. It predicts eight deliverables within the course of one year of its life time, including a research database, academic publications, a symposium and other opportunities for networking, and elaboration of funding bids.

The network is led and coordinated by Dr Zana Vathi, MWG-NW director at EHU, and  includes 15 academics from 11 different countries. The collaborators are ambitious researchers of different levels of seniority, including professors, associate and assistant professors, and post doc and doctoral research fellows.

‘This is an exiting scheme and we are privileged to have been awarded one of the three awards IMISCOE had planned at European level’ says Zana. ‘Return migration has been part of my research for over 10 years and its research and policy relevance has been increasing, alongside intensification of migration waves and policy-making in this area. The initiative takes a particular interest in the human rights of migrants and their families as affected by return migration, and more specifically, in how states’ policies and programmes on return are implicated in the respect, or lack of, human rights’.

Based on the prominence of IMISCOE in the field of migration in Europe, the RET-MIG network aims to make a significant research and policy impact at international level.