The political climate on immigration and diversity in various European societies has previously been analysed in relation to media representations, policy regimes and public opinion. This paper focuses more narrowly on how political climates affect migrant and post-migrant generations, as inhabitants of these European societies. We focus on the impact of ambivalence resulting from perceived lack of recognition as full citizens in European societies among migrants and their descendants. Ambivalence in relation to experiences of particular traits of the political climate is further connected with ideas about mobility—how migrants and descendants may think about return migration—what we discuss in terms of ‘return imaginaries’. Culture, ideology and representations are seen as significant for contemporary politics, not only with expressive but also with formative roles. With this perspective, the analysis explores three politically heated areas of debate: about immigration control, about social cohesion and integration agendas and about terrorist attacks. These three areas were inductively selected, drawing on analysis of qualitative data collected among Pakistani origin migrants and descendants in Norway and the UK. The two countries of residence are purposefully chosen because they in different ways reflect political climates affected by the rise of xenophobia and Islamophobia in Europe.