Does International Migration Represent a Mechanism for Status Enhancement or Status Loss? A Study of International Return Migrants to Ghana
Elijah Yendaw

The issue of return migration has been ignored in many migration studies in Africa. Meanwhile, there has been recognition that migration, both internal and international represents an important mechanism for extricating out of poverty especially for many people from developing countries. To unravel some of these claims, data from a survey involving 120 return migrants in the Berekum Municipality, Ghana, were used to assess the socio-economic conditions of Ghanaian migrants. The study adopted a quantitative approach to research involving simple random sampling technique. The instrument used for the data collection was an interview schedule, made up of both open and closedended questions. The results have shown that most of the returnees saved large sums of money towards their return and a large percentage of them had access to formal financial credit obtained primarily through banks which prior to their departure was almost impossible. But it was found from the results that returnees who traveled to Germany had the highest financial status followed by those who traveled to Israel. Regarding the returnees’ social capital formation, the results revealed that a higher percentage had acquired valuable foreign values, attitudes and ideas and had become socially connected with improved social networks upon return. It was further discovered that most of the returnees were highly influential in decision-making in their localities compared to the period before departure. But returnees who had longest duration of stay overseas were found to have had the highest level of influence in decision-making compared to those who had shorter stays abroad. The study recommends that government through a multi-sectorial approach should evolve and implement comprehensive programmes such as post-arrival counseling and start-up support for returnees to ensure adequate utilization of their financial and social capital resources for national development.

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