Prospects for refugees and migrants

Supporting returnees – capitalising on the opportunities afforded by migration

Many refugees and labour migrants wish to return their home countries, sometimes after spending years or even decades abroad. However, they often find it difficult to reintegrate into a society that has changed dramatically while they were away. GIZ therefore supports the social reintegration of returnees in their home countries.

Since early 2015, GIZ has been supporting former civil war refugees returning to Somalia, for example. Many have spent years away from their home country and are now coming back to communities which are ill-equipped to deal with their return. In order to avoid tensions between returnees and local communities, GIZ – on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) – is working to create new prospects for local people. In Kismayo, the third largest city in Somalia, unemployment is extremely high, especially among young people. Young returnees, internally displaced persons and local people are therefore being trained together in urgently needed occupations. The training offers reliable prospects for the future, strengthens social cohesion and helps the Somali authorities to ensure that enough skilled workers are available locally. Women’s empowerment is a target area of investment: women learn a trade or management skills, enabling them to set up their own businesses. 

Migrants who have studied and worked in Germany often bring much-needed expertise with them on their return. They pass on this knowledge to their employers and colleagues and thus contribute to their home countries’ development. Returnees are bridge-builders, linking their personal and professional networks in Germany and their countries of origin. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Centre for International Migration and Development (CIM), which is jointly run by GIZ and the International Placement Services (ZAV) of the German Federal Employment Agency, has been advising and supporting returning experts since 1980. During this period, it has provided advice and financial support for more than 12,000 skilled workers in order to facilitate their return and reintegration into the workplace in their countries of origin.

The provision of advice, tailored to the individual, starts before the returnee leaves Germany and focuses on labour market prospects, training and knowledge transfer. Information is also provided about suitable vacancies with local employers in the country of origin. Upon their arrival in the country of origin, CIM is available to support the returnees’ reintegration into the workplace and to facilitate networking. In addition, some refugees are selected to receive advice and training so that they can set up their own businesses.