Getting Adapted? A Comparative Study of Qualified Turkish Return Migrants from Germany and the USA

Getting Adapted? A Comparative Study of Qualified Turkish Return Migrants from Germany and the USA
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  269 © Te Author(s) 2018M. Caselli, G. Gilardoni (eds.), Globalization, Supranational Dynamics and Local Experiences  , Europe in a Global Context, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-64075-4_13 13 Getting Adapted? A Comparative Study of Qualified Turkish Return Migrants from Germany and the USA Meltem Yilmaz Şener and Seçil Paçacı Elitok  Introduction  When we consider the international migration history of urkey, we see the key position of the immigration of worker migrants to Germany that has been going on since the 1960s. Due to the waves of migration from urkey to Europe, and especially to Germany, urks now form one of the largest minority groups living in Western Europe who have migrated from outside of the European Union (EU) region (Sirkeci 2002: 9). As a consequence, beginning from the first period of migration, urkish M. Yilmaz Şener ( * ) University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway S.P. Elitok Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA  Tis research is supported by UBIAK (Te Scientific and echnological Research Council of urkey) Grant 1001, Project No.: 114K685. Meltem Yilmaz Sener is the Principle Investigator for the Project.  270   migration to Germany has been a subject that social scientists have inten-sively analyzed. However, most studies have focused on guest workers and there have been a limited number of studies looking at the case of qualified migrants from urkey to Germany. Academic interest is limited not only to the migration of the qualified migrants to Germany but also in return migration. o date, there are only a few studies on return migra-tion and they mostly try to understand under what conditions and situa-tions guest workers return to urkey, with only a couple studying the return migration experiences of urkish skilled professionals.On the other side, the history of urkish migration to the USA goes back to the 1820s. During the first wave of urkish migration to the USA over the period 1820–1920, 291,435 people migrated there. Te second wave of migration took place during 1950s and during that stage it was mostly professionals such as doctors or engineers who migrated. Te last wave of immigration can be dated after the 1980s (Kaya 2004: 296).  Although its history dates back to the nineteenth century, urkish migra-tion to the USA has received very little scholarly attention. However, in the existing studies, in contrast to the German case, qualified profession-als have been a major group that scholars have concentrated on. Especially within the context of discussions on brain drain, the reasons behind the migrants’ decisions to migrate have been investigated. Yet, within the discussions on urkish migration to the USA, return migration has been insufficiently covered and there have been only a few works that looked at the experiences of return migrants.Te aim of this chapter is to investigate the subject of return migra-tion, which has so far been a relatively neglected area of research, by studying the return migration of urkish qualified migrants from two different countries, Germany and the USA. Tis chapter looks for answers to two major questions. First, under what conditions and because of which reasons do qualified urkish migrants return to urkey? Te sec-ond question aims to understand to what extent and in what ways they get reintegrated to the context of urkey after return. By comparing the experiences of two groups who lived in these two countries and came back to urkey, the paper explains to what extent the reasons behind return and adaptation forms are different in these two cases. Te chapter also discusses the possible sources of these differences. It is another aim of M. Yilmaz Şener and S.P. Elitok    271 the contribution to determine the factors related to the country of migra-tion and the country of srcin that led them to return. Tereby, both the kinds of opportunities and limitations that both American and German contexts offer to the migrants, and the characteristics and opportunities of the urkish context that become influential in the migrants’ decisions to return are demonstrated.  Return Migration For a long time, many studies that focus on international migration and migrant groups approached migration as a unidirectional movement. For this reason, international migration was generally discussed based on the number of migrants entering the host country. However, in fact, a signifi-cant number of migrants usually return after a while. As Smith and Edmonston (1997) state, there will always be return migration as long as there is international migration, and 35–45% of migrants either return to their home country or migrate to another country. However, despite these high percentages of return migrants, return migration is mostly ignored by researchers and policy-makers. For instance, in the case of the USA, while there is a lot of reliable demographic data regarding the number of immi-grants entering the country, there is limited and insufficient data regarding returnees leaving the country (Smith and Edmonston 1997: 39). Although there are various studies on international migration, the aspect of return migration has been neglected in academic studies. As Guzzetta (2004) mentions, return migration has started to become an important field of study since the beginning of 2000s. However, there is still a significant gap in the literature. An important reason behind the neglect of this significant area is a lack of sufficient data. While political authorities place emphasis on data collection on migrants entering the country, they give less impor-tance to collecting data on those migrants who leave the country.More recently, return migration has started to be analyzed as a part of the mobility process, which has continuity between the host country and the home country, especially within the scope of the discussions on trans-nationality (Levitt 2009, King and Christou 2010). In this regard, migration is now considered to refer to continuous mobility, rather than Getting Adapted? A Comparative Study of Qualified Turkish...  272   being a one-way and one-time process. Tese new kinds of migrations are conceptualized as transnational migration , and return migration processes are also analyzed in the context of the debates on lives and networks of transnational migrants.Gmelch (1980: 136), in his pioneering work on return migration, defines return migration as movements of migrants towards their home country to resettle. In this definition, a long-term visit without an inten-tion of resettlement is not considered return migration. Cassarino (2004: 269) summarizes five different theoretical approaches that try to explain the dynamics of return migration: (a) Neoclassical Economics:  Return migration takes place because of a failed migration experience, when the financial expectations of the migrant are not met. (b) New Economics of Labor Migration (NELM):  According to the NELM perspective, and contrary to neoclassical economic theories, return migration is the logical result of the strategy of the household. (c) Structural Approach:  Resources that migrants bring to their home countries are crucial for return decision and re-adaptation after return. While analyzing the success or failure of returnees, the struc-tural approach looks at the relation between personal expectations and the economic and social reality of the home country. (d) ransnationalism:  ransnationalism focuses on strong social and eco-nomic networks of migrants between the host country and home country. According to this perspective, return migration does not mean that the migration cycle is completed. Return migration is a part of a circular system composed of social and economic relation-ships and exchanges. Tese relationships and transactions make re- adaptation easier. (e) Social Network Teory:  In a similar way to the transnationalism per-spective, this theory conceptualizes returnees as migrants who have strong networks with the country of migration. However, it does not accept the argument of transnationalism, which states that these net-works are generally based on migrant communities. According to social network theory, these networks reflect a migration experience that may seriously support enterprises of returnees in their home country.  M. Yilmaz Şener and S.P. Elitok    273 Cassarino (2004: 275–276), in the theoretical framework that he pro-posed depending on these perspectives, emphasizes the importance of two factors: 1. Mobilization of resources (financial or other resources, social capital); and 2. Returnees’ level of preparedness (intention to return and being ready for return migration). According to Cassarino, we can analyze return migration when we take these two factors together with features of home and host countries. Borrowing from these different theoretical frameworks, this paper first explains the factors related to both home country and host country that have an impact on the returnees’ decision to go back to their country. It is also evaluated at mezzo level, together with macro and micro levels. In other words, the decision of return migration is explained with reference not just to factors related to the labor market or to individualistic benefit maximization. An analysis at mezzo level has a perspective looking out for both micro and macro factors.  Migration and Return Migration Between Turkey and Germany Labor migration from urkey to Germany, which was initiated in 1961 by a guest worker agreement and which later spread to other western countries, has an important place in urkey’s migration history. Although urkey is now at the same time a migration-receiving, an emigrant and a transition country, when we talk about urkish international migration, the urkey–Germany migration path comes to mind first, with its mobil-ity for more than a half century that became almost a migration system. Guest worker migration had been a short-term solution for both Germany’s need for an unqualified labor force to reinvigorate its economy after World War II and urkey’s underdeveloped economy and unem-ployment problem during the 1960s (Castles and Kosack 1973; Paine 1974; İçduygu 2008). At the beginning of the 1970s, worker migration Getting Adapted? A Comparative Study of Qualified Turkish...
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