Returning home: An evaluation of Hungarian return migration

  • Gábor Lados Department of Economic and Social Geography, University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary
  • Gábor Hegedűs Department of Economic and Social Geography, University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary
Keywords: emigration, return migration, circular migration, migration policies, identity change, Hungary


This paper deals with the Hungarian return migration process and the importance of identity changes for migration decisions. Outmigration of labour force from Hungary and other East Central European countries has intensified after the EU accession in 2004 and 2007. The possibility of free movement encouraged many Eastern and Central European citizens to leave their country; however, this is not a one-way process. A significant number of migrants returned to the home country with newly acquired skills and other assets. The majority of migration theories evaluate return migration by the role of family, motivations or different kinds of acquired capital, but the importance of identity change is less considered. Our primary aim is to investigate the future migration strategy of Hungarian returnees. The paper is based on national policy analysis and indepth interviews. According to our results, interviewees highlighted the role of work experience and family status. In general, highly skilled returnees met fewer obstacles during their return due to higher flexibility and former employer contracts, but family issues might represent more obstacles during the return. Lower skilled returnees were more dissatisfied with their return, especially those who migrated together with their family members. Hence, the chance for another emigration was higher than in the highly skilled group.


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How to Cite
LadosG., & HegedűsG. (2017). Returning home: An evaluation of Hungarian return migration. Hungarian Geographical Bulletin, 65(4), 321-330.