Dissemination of Information on Voluntary Return: How to reach Irregular Migrants not in Contact with the Authorities

The focus of this study lies with irregular migrants who are not in contact with the authorities. Due to their irregular situation, it is difficult to provide information on the numbers of persons that are irregularly staying in Luxembourg. Several actors were able to provide some estimations on the scale of irregular migrants, but these estimations can only ever be partial. Statistics are available concerning the assisted voluntary return and reintegration from Luxembourg programme that is operated by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) as well as concerning the counselling services offered by different non-governmental organisations and associations. However, most of these numbers refer to migrants that are known to the authorities, mainly because they are rejected applicants for international protection.
The main challenges in providing information on voluntary return lies with those persons that are not in contact with the authorities. Applicants for international protection are informed about the existence of a voluntary return option during the procedure and also when a return decision is issued. However, persons who have never been in contact with the authorities might not have received information on the existence of such a possibility. Several other challenges have been expressed in this study: they concern the lack of existence of a specific strategy, the unwillingness of the concerned persons to return (even if they are aware of the programme), the inadequacy of the programme for certain communities and the difficulties in understanding the information on behalf of the migrants themselves.

According to the Immigration Law, there is 30 days period for leaving the territory voluntarily and concerned persons may ask to benefit from an assisted return programme. However, there are currently no legislative provisions on the dissemination of information on voluntary return. Nonetheless, since 2001, there has been an increasing political commitment in Luxembourg to promote voluntary return and multiple policy documents have mentioned this issue.
Since 2009, a programme on assisted voluntary return and reintegration (AVRR) from Luxembourg has been put into place with the assistance of IOM. Following a call for project launched by the Directorate of Immigration for the period 2011-2013, the agreement between the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and IOM was pursued within the framework of the European Return Fund. Since 2014, the programme is co-financed via the new Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF). This programme is available to nationals from most countries, with the exception of nationals from the Western Balkans that benefit from a visa liberalisation (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia). For these nationals a separate programme is available where the return bus ticket is directly financed by the Directorate of Immigration.

Author: LU EMN NCP Year: 2015 Publishing date: 26/10/2015 language: EN categories: Studies