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Dissemination of Information on Voluntary Return: how to reach irregular migrants not in contact with the authorities: EMN Synthesis Report

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Abstract

Return policy is essential for a credible legal migration policy. Information dissemination is a key element in operating an effective voluntary return policy enabling people to make an informed choice about their future.

Whilst there is limited information to estimate the exact scale of irregular migration in the EU, due to the largely clandestine nature of the phenomenon, (proxy) indicators suggest that irregular migration is increasing in many Member States.

In view of this, the EU and its Member States are keen to develop policies and practices that can increase returns of not having a legal right to stay in the EU. The Return Directive makes clear that voluntary return is preferred at EU level over forced return, if it does not undermine the purpose of the return procedure. It is therefore positive that various Member States have recently legislated (or plan to legislate) for more effective promotion of voluntary return and that almost all (Member) States have in place rules for the provision of information on voluntary return.

Several challenges in disseminating information on voluntary return to irregular migrants are common to most Member States, such as: how and where to target irregular migrants when they are not in contact with disseminating actors; language barriers; engaging irregular migrants with those providing information even when the former is unwilling to return and/or is mistrustful of authorities and other actors (both of which prevent migrants from engaging with those providing information); and ensuring that migrants have access to accurate information even where they are more likely to rely primarily on informal sources of information from within their community.

This Synthesis Report is based on the National Contributions from the following Member States: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and Norway.

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Author: European Migration Network
Publisher: Directorate General Migration and Home Affairs, European Commission
Date of Publication: 01 October 2015
Geographical focus: Europe

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