On 21 November I had the honour to participate in a panel debate organized by the College of Europe and funded by the Swiss Mission to the EU on Voluntary Return Policy. The debate was active in discussing several different elements of return.
My intervention was framed around three central recommendations:
- Dearth of research and evidence in this field, particularly in understanding post-return conditions. Post-return monitoring is severely lacking and should become an integrated component of AVR programmes. This can lead to informing programming and policy in terms of what interventions lead to successful reintegration and what return conditions lead to remigration.
- Terminology should be changed to Assisted Return –Academics have long been calling for a revision of this language and terminology, which has now been taken on by some states in the EU. This is a good example and it is time to move towards the terminology ‘assisted return’ across the EU and respect the limited agency available to migrants in their return decision making factors.
- Focus should be on Sustainable Reintegration – A term such as sustainable reintegration allows for an understanding of a holistic process of reintegration that is sustainable over the long term. This articulates a clear and sound policy goal, versus one of rooting people unsustainably in one place.
For more information on my work on assisted voluntary return see:
Kuschminder, K. (2017). “Taking Stock of Assisted Voluntary Return from Europe: Decision Making, Reintegration and Sustainable Return”. Global Governance Programme, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute Working Paper No. 2017-31.