Social protection and return migration: The Albanian-Greek migration corridor

Based on qualitative research with migrants, their children and key informants in Albania, this presentation will investigate the experiences of return migrants with social protection and their positionality towards social protection stakeholders. Return migration to Albania has intensified in the past few years due to the economic crisis in different European countries where many Albanians have migrated to since the beginning of the 1990s. Findings of multisited fieldwork testify to the centrality of social protection in the process of migrants’ relocation to the country of origin. Due to the trans-national and trans-temporal dimensions of the return process, access to and overall experiences of social protection are mediated by different understandings and regulation of the thresholds of vulnerability, need and welfare held by return migrants, locals, policy makers and service providers. These staggered understandings and thresholds are embedded in an observed trans-national and trans-local developmental gap between the country of immigration and country of origin where migrants relocate to. Resource environment in the context of return is, therefore, characterised by cognitive and material discontinuities at trans-national and trans-temporal level. Experiences of these discontinuities impact on returnees’ social protection strategies and have significant implications for their social and economic positioning upon return to the country of origin.