In recent years, Ireland has been experiencing a wave of return migration. People return to Ireland for many different reasons, but in our experience, family is often at the heart of this decision. While challenges to return are well documented at this stage, many people are successfully settling back to life in Ireland bringing home with them much needed skills and increasingly sharing their experiences of returning home to help others thinking of coming back.
Under Minister Ciaran Cannon, Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development since June 2017, efforts to engage with Ireland’s Diaspora communities are stronger than ever. Ireland also funds an extensive network of Irish organisations around the world, many of whom are tasked with providing welfare related supports to Irish people abroad as part of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Emigrant Support Program.
As one of these organisations, Crosscare Migrant Project has been working with Irish emigrants since the 1980’s. Based in Dublin we are unique in working in all areas of Irish migration – including Irish emigration, return migration, and immigration. As part of our free services we provide general information, advocacy and referral support via a face-to-face drop-in service, by phone or email, and online at www.migrantproject.ie.
For Irish emigrants thinking of coming back to Ireland, we provide tailored information to support people to make an informed decision about your prospective return. This includes information on what you need to know about returning to Ireland, coming home with a non-Irish de facto partner or civil partner/spouse, returning with children born abroad, applying for social welfare payments, looking after your well-being throughout your transition back to Ireland. Given all of this, you’d be forgiven for wondering why you’ve not heard of us before!
It may be because a lot of our work focuses on helping Irish emigrants who are in vulnerable situations. We work closely with Irish support organisations around the world, as well as Ireland’s network of Irish Embassies and Consular services to provide support to people returning to Ireland in crisis – including families returning from conflict zones, deportees, former prisoners, Irish travellers, victims of domestic violence, and isolated older people. We do this by providing advocacy supports to people experiencing difficulties in accessing statutory assistance upon return, such as homeless and housing supports, social welfare payments, and medical cards.
Crosscare Migrant Project Report: “Coming Home in Crisis”
We work to raise these challenges as part of our research and social policy initiatives, aiming to grow awareness and effect positive change at a higher level. On Monday 14th October 2019 we launched our new report “Coming Home In Crisis”, which explores the lived experiences of people who have returned home in need of support. It draws on interviews with returnees and Irish Emigrant Support Programme funded organisations worldwide, as well as our own casework in this area. The report is an in-depth study of the impact of return migration on emigrants who face risk or vulnerability.
Speaking at the launch Senator Billy Lawless, Ireland’s only emigrant Senator, said:
“Crosscare Migrant Project is often the first port of call for some Irish citizens returning in crisis. We need to send a strong message that Ireland cares for its Diaspora”.
We hope that by highlighting the challenges faced by the most vulnerable members of our Diaspora and making recommendations to Government, we can contribute to positive changes that will benefit all Irish emigrants around the world and let you know that Ireland will welcome you home if and when you decide to return.
If you or someone you know is thinking about returning to Ireland consult our website www.migrantproject.ie for information on where to begin your journey. You can also get in touch by email on [email protected] or phone at +353 (0) 1 873 2844 with queries, as well as follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Sarah Owen is the Irish Abroad Networking Officer with Crosscare Migrant Project. They are funded by the Emigrant Support Programme of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to provide supports to Irish people emigrating from and returning to Ireland. See www.migrantproject.ie