Events & News


“Reverse Migration” – Facing hostility, neglect and exclusion, Syrian refugees “repatriate” themselves home


by Shanisse Goh (Research Intern, EU Centre)

The views expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union or the EU Centre in Singapore.

A printable version of the commentary is available HERE.

We are familiar with the numbers of Syrian refugees flooding into Europe – over a million displaced Syrians have migrated to Europe since the crisis began in 2015. The statistic we are unfamiliar with, however, is the growing number of Syrian refugees heading home from Europe. In 2017, 66,000 refugees returned to Syria from abroad, mostly from neighbouring countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey. The number of refugees returning from Europe is currently only a fraction of that number, but as the dust settles in Syria and refugees continue to face hostility in host countries, the number returning from Europe is set to rise. It is unclear just how many refugees are leaving Europe, mainly because most of them utilise illegal pathways to get home. However, research conducted since last year has revealed the phenomenon of “reverse migration”.