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06 Jun 2018

New Evidence on Yemeni Return Migrants from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

In 2013, massive labour migrants were deported from Saudi Arabia as a consequence of the Nitaqat programme, which aimed to increase job opportunities for Saudi citizens. Neighbouring Yemen has been most affected by the programme, with almost 600,000 Yemenis crossing the border back into Yemen.

The economic situation of Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the world, was already progressively deteriorating, as its economic system faced the considerable challenge of creating sufficient jobs to match the growth in labour supply brought about by the demographic transition. It was therefore evident that the repatriation from Saudi Arabia of such a high number of migrants would have a significant impact on the economic situation of the country, which relied heavily on remittances.

Within this context, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) partnered with the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 2014 to carry out the Yemen Return Migrants Survey (YRMS), aiming to collect the information necessary to devise and implement evidence-based relief policies. A questionnaire was administered to households in areas with high rates of returnees. The YRMS intended to reveal the profiles of the return migrants, capture the demographic and economic profiles of the members of their households, describe their migration experience, and obtain information on the employment and economic situation of the returnees. IOM’s part of the questionnaire aimed to improve the understanding of the reasons behind the initial irregular migration to Saudi Arabia; the frequency of remittances sent back to Yemen from Saudi Arabia; the method of such transfers; the nature of relationships with other migrants in Saudi Arabia; the willingness to migrate to other countries following the forced return to Yemen; and the economic and social difficulties encountered by the return migrants and their families.

  • Introduction
  • Objectives and Structure of the Paper
  • Baseline Information
    • Demographic Trends
    • Education
    • Labour Market and Labour Market Indicators
    • The Damage and Needs Assessment Survey
    • Migration History
  • The Questionnaire
  • The Main Findings of the First Five Sections
    • Household Composition and Structure and Socioeconomic Characteristics of the Members
    • Forcibly Returned Migrants
      • The Migration Process
      • The Working Experience in Saudi Arabia
      • Remittances
      • Back in Yemen
  • The Main Findings of the Sixth Section
    • Reasons for Irregular Migration
    • Remittances
      • Frequency of Sending Remittances
      • Method
      • The cost of Sending Remittances
      • Helping Other Migrants to Transfer Money
      • Conclusions
    • Helping Other Migrants
    • Willingness to Migrate to Other Countries
    • Back to Yemen
      • Economic Impacts
      • Relationship with the Community
      • Frequency of Social Contacts
      • Interaction with the Community
      • Time Spent in Saudi Arabia
      • Frequency of Return
    • Summary Conclusions
  • Policy Recommendations
    • The Long Run
  • The Short Run
  • References