Research Study #4 - Returning to Debt. Examining the Effects of Indebtedness on Reintegration Outcomes
This mixed methods study – a collaboration between the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Samuel Hall and the University of Sussex – builds on previous research on debt and reintegration by analysing returnees’ and their households’ experiences with debt in five countries (Bangladesh, Cameroon, El Salvador, Ghana and Iraq).
The study is based on data collection that took place between May and July 2022. Using IOM’s framework on sustainable reintegration with its focus on a multidimensional and multilevel reintegration process, this study analyses reintegration outcomes according to three dimensions (economic, social and psychosocial) and contextualizes the experiences of returnees within their households and communities.
The report focuses on how debt acts as a barrier to, or at times facilitates, opportunities for returnees’ sustainable reintegration, as well as ways in which it constricts returnees’ ability to cope with reintegration challenges. Additionally, the report examines how debt damages returnees’ households’ capacity to support returnees’ reintegration. Throughout the analysis, specific attention is paid to the quality - or characteristics - of specific debts. Debt’s impacts on reintegration outcomes are not inherently negative, rather particular types of debts are more likely to be linked to reintegration challenges; debt impacts are context-specific and can transform over time.