Paying to Go: Deportability as Development
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Financial incentives have been a key element of “voluntary” return schemes in Europe since French co-development policies in the 1970s. A new generation of return schemes has been introduced since the late 1990s targetting unrecognised asylum seekers or undocumented migrants, rather than legal residents. These schemes are brokered by the International Organisation for Migration, supposed to monitor the safety of returnees and manage post-return payments. This chapter is based on interviews with migrants whose return to Sri Lanka was financed under a UK scheme designed to offer further support once they returned. The chapter follows the range of return experiences of 50 migrants who returned between 2006 and the end of the conflict in Sri Lanka in 2009. Many took the opportunity to develop their own business, and the widespread failure and disillusionment of the migrants emphasises the problematic assumption that relatively small amounts of money are sufficient to encourage unwanted individuals back across borders.
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