Authors: Aslam, Atif Bilal
Title: Implications of return migration intentions of Pakistani immigrants for urban development in Pakistan
Other Titles: A study of the global economic crisis period (2008-11) in Germany
Language (ISO): en
Abstract: The literature identifies various typologies of and reasons for migration out of which economic motive has been considered as one of the paramount reasons. This reflects that migratory patterns, translocal practices and behaviours of international economic migrants are associated with the changes in the economic conditions of the immigration countries. Though evidence of increased international return migration during past economic crises has been found to be significant, recent empirical findings suggest that return migration is becoming resilient towards crisis shocks. This observation has been illustrated in the literature by the theories of livelihood strategies, transnationality and globalization. However, there is no insight available for the effects of economic crises on ‘return migration intentions’ (RMI) of immigrants. Although, some studies show that immigrants remit more to origin countries under RMI, the nature of the performed translocal spatial practices through increased remittances and their implications for urban development in origin countries has until now been unclear. Another associated underlying problem is the lack of clear understanding of the term ‘urban development’. Given this background, this study firstly conceptualizes the debate of development by interconnecting the theories of development, sustainability and globalization. Then, the conceptualized debate about development is synthesized with the urban theory to better understand the term urban development in a broader context of multi-scaled urban change factors. Secondly, by applying a sequential mixed methods research approach, this study investigates the relation between the effects of the global economic crisis and RMI of the Pakistani immigrants residing in Germany. This study further explores the translocal spatial practices of Pakistani immigrants performed in Pakistan during a period of 2008-12 and the reasons behind their performance. Lastly, a method of ‘Urban Development Index (UDI)’ has been devised within the presented urban development debate to assess the implications of the performed practices for the urban development in Pakistan. This study finds a significant association between the effects of the global economic crisis and RMI of the Pakistani immigrants. Though a majority of the translocal spatial practices was being performed in the human capability development sector, about half of the remittances were invested for performance of the practices in the local housing markets. Other than the labour market interactions, little difference was found between the practices performed by immigrants who had RMI and by those who had not. Adding to the theoretical debate of transnationality, this study finds that some translocal practices were being performed under RMI by initiating a return migration process in order to bring an end to the transnational lifestyles instead of keeping the transnational lifestyles intact. This study finds that the performed translocal spatial practices of Pakistani immigrants had positive implications for urban development in Pakistan at micro level. Finally, it is found that around one fifth of the total impact within the constructed urban development frame was exerted by the practices performed under RMI. It is mainly recommended that local labour markets, urban housing sector and overseas investments should be the priority strategy response areas for emigrating countries, while formulating policies to deal with the implications of economic crisis conditions in immigration countries. Through harnessing the skills and resources of the potential return migrants, economic crisis periods could be converted into opportunities for urban development in origin countries.
Subject Headings: Return migration
Urban development
Economic crisis
Mixed methods
Pakistani immigrants
Subject Headings (RSWK): Deutschland / Pakistaner / Rückwanderung / Stadtentwicklung / Herkunftsland
Auswanderung / Rückwanderung / Stadtentwicklung / Herkunftsland
Issue Date: 2015
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