Returns and Reintegration

Reintegration assistance refers to the support provided to migrants returned to their countries of origin. Frontex supports Member States and Schengen Associated Countries in providing reintegration assistance both during the first days following the arrival in the country of origin (post-arrival assistance), as well as longer-term assistance up to 12 months (post-return assistance) to help returnees reintegrate into their societies. Examples of assistance provided include support with accommodation, medical assistance, job counselling, education, family reunification and other.

These reintegration assistance activities and/or services are currently being implemented by Member States through various national and EU programmes with a broad range of partners around the globe. However, the landscape of policies, practises and capacities in Member States for implementing reintegration assistance is very diverse. Some Member States have built up large capacities in this area, while others have not been able to do so due to capacity or budgetary contstraints. The implementation of the Frontex Reintegration Programme as a European-wide provision of reintegration assistance with equal standards and equal treatment for returnees eligible for support will address this structural inequality and ensure that all Member States can make use of an EU-standardised reintegration programme, and that returnees will benefit from the same support across whole Europe.

Frontex provides reintegration assistance as part of its Reintegration Programme through the so-called Joint Reintegration Services from 1 April 2022. The agency has contracted five reliable reintegration partners around the globe delivering these services to non-EU nationals returning to their home countries. The quality of the services will be overseen by a dedicated quality monitoring framework that is currently under development in cooperation with the European Commission.

Frontex aims to support up to 7000 persons annually, both individuals and families, depending on the needs of the Member States and the available budget.

Frontex finances the reintegration services directly from its own budget.The budget earmarked for 2022 is EUR 14,300,000.


Scope of Assistance

The Member States are the sole actor that can request reintegration assistance from Frontex and determine who is eligible for support. In accordance with the 2019/1896 Regulation, the following third-country nationals are found eligible:

  • Persons who have not yet received a final negative decision regarding their request to stay, their legal residence and/or international protection in a Member State, and who choose to make use of voluntary return;
  • Persons who are present in a Member State and either do not or no longer fulfil the conditions for entry and/or stay, including those whose return has been postponed.

The Member States are responsible for determining whether a returnee meets the criteria above and is eligible for support, as well as for requesting reintegration assistance from Frontex.


Reintegration Services

The reintegration services supported by Frontex are divided into two packages:

Post-arrival package
These services or activities include the immediate assistance upon arrival, covering the first three days, and are organised and coordinated between the responsible Member State and the reintegration partner. This short-term assistance includes:

  • Cash assistance
  • Airport pick-up
  • Onward transportation
  • Housing upon arrival
  • Medical assistance upon arrival
  • Family reunification for unaccompanied minors

This package is optional and must be requested by the Member States at least five days in advance.

Post-return package
These services or activities include the long-term assistance activities which can be implemented up to 12 months beyond immediate arrival:

  • Cash assistance
  • Long-term housing and related costs
  • Regular medical assistance
  • Education (schooling and vocational training)
  • Job counselling and assistance in accessing the labour market
  • Assistance in setting up a small business
  • Family Reunification (monitoring)
  • Legal counselling and administrative support
  • Psychosocial support

The post-return package is always a result of cooperation between the returnee, return counsellor in the Member State, and reintegration partner. Together, they develop a tailor-made plan based on the returnee’s personal situation and needs. This cooperation is an important aspect of the return process, as it allows the returnee to make an informed decision about their future and the local reintegration partner to offer the high-quality assistance as requested. Doing so, the post-return packages address root causes of illegal migration and support the stabilization of returnees in their country of origin.

Disclaimer:
Not every Member State or Schengen Associated Country offers the above-mentioned specific packages to all potential returnees. This is pending on every national framework in combination with the eligibility criteria per Member State.

To ensure proper administrative case handling, Frontex will use the Reintegration Assistance Tool (RIAT) developed by the European Commission. This online tool simplifies and standardises the exchange of information about the reintegration process to the best benefit of returnees, reintegration partners and return counsellors. RIAT also translates case management into three key moments: return application, reintegration plan and financial report. This allows to address the needs of the returnee in a holistic way. The system is GDPR-compliant and enables consolidation of insightful statistics about returnees’ journey.


Where we work

With the launch of the Joint Reintegration Services, starting on 1 April 2022, the geographical scope is limited to 26 countries. Frontex aims to cover 50 countries around the world with reintegration assistance from 1 July 2022. The selection of destinations is based on consulations with the Member States and it could be adapted as needs change.

The following partners have signed a framework partnership agreement with Frontex for the duration of four years:


Roles and responsibilities

Frontex is responsible for checking the eligibility of returnees and the activities proposed in the reintegration plan, as well as making financial checks after the reintegration assistance has been delivered. Additionally, the agency’s Post-Return Unit is responsible for the daily management of reintegration partners, as well as operational communication.

In addition to determining the eligibility of returnees, Member States are responsible for requesting the reintegration assistance from Frontex and ensuring that returnees are well informed and counselled prior to the return. Member States also verify and approve the reintegration plan, as well as the completion of the reintegration assistance delivery.

The reintegration partners implement the delivery of reintegration assistance for the agreed period of time in the country of origin. The responsibilities of the reintegration partners also include coordinating and monitoring the work of the local reintegration partners in the relevant third countries.


Contact

Frontex offers first line support for users of Joint Reintegration Services. The service desk and helpline serve as a point of contact for Member States and Reintegration Partners.

Service Desk

                      ECRET.JRS@frontex.europa.eu

                             09:00 – 17:00 CET

Helpline

                      +48 22 236 6875

                             13:00 – 16:00 CET



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