PREMIG is guided by four research questions:
1. How do immigrants in various situations reflect upon and decide about return migration?
2. How does the possibility of return interact with A) integration in the country of residence and B) transnational relationships?
3. How can we understand and explain the patterns of actual return among immigrants?
4. How is return migration experienced by return migrants and the communities to which they return?
A thorough literature review in the first year of the project ensures that we carefully build upon the work of others and make valuable contributions to existing research. The subsequent data collection and analysis combine several approaches:
In Norway and the United Kingdom semi-structured interviews and focus groups explore how migrants engage with the possibility of return. We conduct case studies among Afghans, Burundians, Iraqis, Pakistanis and Poles in the two countries. In Norway there is a sixth case study of the possibility of return among a so-called superdiversity group of migrants from a mix of national backgrounds.
Analysis of existing survey data in Norway addresses how expectations to return vary between migrants. The data covers people from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Somalia and Chile. Norwegian population register data are analyzed to explore the patterns of actual out-migration and return migration among immigrants.
Experiences of return migration are addressed through semi-structured interviews and focus groups in Afghanistan, Burundi, Iraq, Pakistan and Poland. The data collection covers returnees as well as local inhabitants in the communities to which migrants return.
Return migration is a field where there are often conflicting interests. We are therefore cautious about providing support for specific policy objectives. Instead we seek to bring out diverse perspectives and contribute to a better understanding of how return is thought about, under what conditions it takes place, and how it is experienced.