Current government policy guidelines have not fully elaborated the difference between “Return” and “Reintegration”. These stages of migration remain to be treated as one and the same. However, return and reintegration are two different concepts. Return may only refer to the physical return of a migrant to their country of origin while reintegration is a process to which the migrant is reintroduced and reinserted to the community under three (3) identified dimensions: Economic stability, Social Networks and Psycho-social. Return may be for everyone, but reintegration may not be ready for all returnees (Bernas, 2016). It is further defined as the continuing process after “return migration” that generally contributes to the sustainability of return through various dimension of reintegration in terms of economic stability, social networks, and psychosocial stability (Ruben et al).
The Taiwan case study provided a perspective of OFWs from a highly regulated and mainstreamed system of labour migration. Taiwan has a targeted delineation for the type of workers and industry to which migrant workers are accepted. Although Taiwan is a host country that has progressive labour migrant policies and highly regulated terms of employment, but lacks the consciousness of shared responsibility as far as reintegration is concerned. Reintegration is generally thought of as the responsibility of the state of origin, but these migrant workers having worked and contributed to a foreign economy for at least a decade of their lives receive no separation benefits from the employers or the host country which could at least provide as an incentive for going back to their home countries.
The OFWs in Taiwan and their work is only a fraction of their lives and careers. Continuity to develop specializations and improve in the ladder of their careers in the industry is rare. Labour mobility is difficult, promotion is also rare. Integration is low and is mostly focused on establishing their daily lives and routines in terms of language and expected social behaviors (crime, traffic rules, etc.). Thus, aside from the maximum allowable years of stay, the low level of integration options is a major driving force that calls for efforts to strengthen reintegration.
It has to be reiterated that reintegration efforts are multidimensional and should involve all concerned stakeholders in both countries of origin and destination There is a need to include discussions of reintegration in bilateral labour agreements (BLAs), in OFW trainings and seminars, and other channels of reintegration information campaign so that return may not be seen as an end nor failure of labour migration but as the goal for all temporary contract workers as a means to sustainably establish a better life in their home country.
Title: A Research on Return and Reintegration : Case Study of OFWS in Taiwan
Researcher: Jhemarie Chris L. Bernas