Return Migration of Iraqis: Two Case Studies.
In the past ten years, a substantial number of those displaced Iraqis have returned to their homeland, sometimes with the intention to resettle permanently there, although they have usually defined their return as a visit or a temporary sojourn (Kivisto & La Vecchia-Mikkola, 2013). A major pull factor is the wish to reconnect with left-behind families and friends and with the land of origin. Nevertheless in refugees’ decision to return, push factors, such as the host government policies and civil society attitudes towards them as well as anti-immigration sentiments and integration failure, can play an important role in stimulating the will to go back to the country of origin.
This study is the result of a joint multi-situated research and fieldwork in Lebanon and Finland and it aims at examining push and pulls factors of Iraqi refugees’ decision to return home. It also investigates the ambivalence towards this decision in order to offer an insight into the process of redefining refugees’ relationship with their country of origin – which in their imagination is not a country of violence and suffering anymore, but becomes an idealized, mythic place at odd with reality on the ground (Kivisto & La Vecchia-Mikkola, 2013).