Assisted Voluntary Return & Reintegration Policies and Programmes in Four EU Countries: France, Germany, Italy and Spain

Marco Caselli, Adjoua Alphonsine Kadio, Caterina Rizzo


In response to the presence of a significant number of non-EU nationals illegally residing within their borders, EU countries implement forced return policies which, besides being burdensome from both a financial and organisational point of view, can stoke the fires of social and diplomatic tensions as well as, at times, proving problematic in terms of a lack of the appropriate full respect for fundamental human rights. For these reasons, the EU institutions have repeatedly stated that voluntary returns are to be preferred to forced ones. One measure that can concretely encourage voluntary returns is that of Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) programmes, which can be accompanied by initiatives to support the socio-economic reintegration of citizens repatriated to their country of origin. Given the disparity between how European countries conduct AVR programmes and the fact that little research has focused on this topic, the aim of the article is to present policies and procedures for AVR and reintegration adopted by the four largest EU countries: France, Germany, Italy and Spain. These four case studies were conducted by analysing the available documentation and by conducting interviews with stakeholders and individuals responsible for the implementation of AVR activities. The article also offers some remarks on the four cases studied as a whole, with a particular focus on the elements that seem to provide the most significant contribution to the success of these policies.


immigration; return; immigration policies

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