Friends or foes? Integration of return migrants into the labour market and society of Lithuania
During the last two decades Lithuania experienced a high rate of labour migration, which peaked during the early years of EU membership (2004–2006) and once again during the recent economic crisis (2009–2011). This has had some far-reaching economic and social effects, including a significant decrease of labour supply, brain waste, and further deterioration of the demographic balance. Yet a significant number of migrants do return back into the labour market of Lithuania, albeit with different levels of success. While there has been an extensive amount of research on migration and mobility of Lithuanians, very few studies addressed the question on how the former migrants actually perform upon coming back. This was the key question for the research “Friends or Foes: The Integration of Return Migrants into the Labour Market and Society of Lithuania” which was implemented in March 2013 – March 2015 by the researchers of the Public Policy and Management Institute with the financial support of the Lithuanian Research Council. The researchers carried out six surveys as well as more than 70 in-depth interviews. The key research questions were: how important are professional motives for the decision to come back to Lithuania; do the skills and knowledge gained abroad help to get a job and advance career in Lithuania; do the employers and the society at large value the work experience from abroad; is the secondary education system prepared to accommodate school pupils who lived and studied in foreign countries, and what are the preconditions of Lithuanian migrants’ participation in expatriate knowledge networks and engagement with the development of their home country?