EU will help migrants better if they cooperate with return to their home country

The European Union is going to help migrants who do not receive a residence permit to return to their own country. For the first time, the EU has set up a Strategy for Voluntary Return and Reintegration (.pdf), which should, among other things, tighten up asylum laws and improve the implementation of return from Europe and other countries. It should also improve existing return and reintegration programmes and strengthen relations with countries outside the EU.

For example, people who contribute to their return will be helped with travel expenses and with money for the first period after returning to their home country. There is also help with things like finding a job, education or setting up businesses in the homeland. With EU money, local officials can be prepared for this.

Return will be more effective if it is voluntary and a good reintegration plan is ready for the person in question, says Commissioner Margaritis Schinas in a press release. This European plan will achieve a uniform and coordinated approach in the participating countries.

And that is urgently needed, says Eurocommissaries Ylva Johansson. Only a third of those who have not been allowed to stay in the EU now go back to their own country. And of those who do, less than 30% voluntarily do so.

Voluntary return cost-saving

That while cooperating with the return is, according to Johansson, the better option. This plan will help people returning to take advantage of opportunities in their country of origin. According to her, this approach is more effective and costs less than a forced return.

The Court of Auditors of the European Parliament estimates that expulsion costs an average of EUR 3414 in detention, guidance and air tickets, and a voluntary return of EUR 560.

The EU makes aid available not only to migrants residing in the EU, but also to migrants in countries with which the EU cooperates in the field of migration, such as Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

The EU also supports organisations such as the International Organization for Migration (IOM), with which the Dutch government is already working together to help with return.