Deported before experiencing the good sides of migration: Ethiopians returning from Saudi Arabia

Marina De Regt*, Medareshaw Tafesse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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In the period November 2013-April 2014 more than 160,000 Ethiopians were deported from Saudi Arabia after a seven months amnesty period for undocumented migrants came to an end. This large-scale regularization campaign of the Saudi government must be seen in light of the Arab Spring, when popular uprisings in the Middle East were threatening dictatorial regimes. The effect of the Arab Spring was felt globally; the uprisings impacted upon migrants living in countries in the Middle East and on their countries of origin. This paper looks into the experiences of Ethiopian deportees prior, during and after their forced return. We argue that the fact that the migrants were not prepared for their sudden return affected their economic, social network and psychosocial embeddedness back in Ethiopia. In addition, the Ethiopian government has not been able to improve the returnees economic embeddedness, which has affected their social and psychological status negatively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-242
Number of pages15
JournalAfrican and Black Diaspora: An International Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2016


  • Deportation
  • Embeddedness
  • Ethiopia
  • Forced return migration
  • Globalization
  • Preparedness
  • Saudi Arabia


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