Return counselling has a critical role to play in supporting third-country nationals in making informed decisions about their possibilities to legally stay in Europe or to return, and thus to ensure safe and dignified return. However, approaches to return counselling exist in a variety of forms. Differences depend on multiple interlinked variables, including the mandate of the organisation providing it, the understanding of the ultimate purpose of return counselling (i.e. to ensure compliance, increase the number of returns, improve return effectiveness, support the migrant to take an informed decision, etc.); the setting of the counselling in terms of location and timing; and the type of entity providing the counselling.
In this context, this EMN Inform seeks to identify the different policies and approaches for return counselling used by Member States plus Norway as well as by national NGOs and international organisations delivering return counselling.
Ireland and Malta reported that counselling is only provided by IOM, independently from national authorities, therefore they are not included in the analysis.
This is the first Inform in a series of three produced by the European Migration Network on return counselling, which are the result of a proposal by IOM to the EMN to engage
in research focusing on identifying best practices related to outreach, counselling and information provision in (assisted voluntary) return and reintegration processes.