'Dignified Return - Future Perspectives' provides a general overview of the ERRIN network and its key activities.
Under the ERRIN umbrella, European countries are joining forces to help migrants who cannot, or no longer wish to stay in Europe.
Ensuring that migrants can return to their home countries in a dignified, humane and sustainable manner is a key part of EU efforts to manage migration. However, it is operationally challenging. Many aspects cannot be addressed effectively on a national level. That is why EU-wide collaboration is needed to improve both return processes, and quality of support offered to returning migrants.
Operational since mid-2018, the European Return and Reintegration Network (ERRIN) builds on the earlier ERIN Specific Action Programme. 16 European countries currently participate in ERRIN, with membership open to any EU Member State or Schengen-associated country. ERRIN is funded through the European Union Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), with co-financing from participating national authorities. The Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security (Repatriation & Departure Service) is the lead partner.
ERRIN is working with four local organisations, the French Office for Immigration and Integration (OFII) and the network of European Reintegration Support Organisations (ERSO), which offer comprehensive assistance for returning migrants. Following the initial aid provided right upon arrival, the reintegration support may involve support for housing, medical treatment, vocational training and educational needs, or setting up a business. ERRIN in currently operating in 34 countries, offering a wide range of services for returnees and implementing innovative projects that aim at improving joint European reintegration practices.
In a nutshell, ERRIN seeks to strengthen cooperation between migration authorities, with the aim of:
• enabling and improving reintegration through joint contracting of service partners in the countries of return;
• serving as an ‘innovation hub’ for members to improve practices, share learning and pilot new approaches to return and reintegration;
• investing in knowledge to improve understanding of return dynamics.
The map shows the network of ERRIN partners currently active worldwide.
Return and reintegration in times of COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges in the field of return and reintegration. COVID-19 response measures had stalled travel globally, hindered the implementation of return procedures and posed serious obstacles for delivery of reintegration assistance in the countries of origin.
For ERRIN, COVID-19 had a major impact on the number of returnees supported by the programme. We estimate that the number of voluntary returns assisted by ERRIN dropped by almost 80% between March and July 2020. This amounts to approximately 2900 people who could not travel back home. A number of new cases during the lockdown period was limited, with 600 new arrivals reported in March 2020.
Through the work of our field partners operating in 34 countries, we could closely monitor the developments and impact COVID-19 had on the reintegration assistance.
ERRIN partners in the field have remained largely operational during the pandemic, with most of the staff across the locations working from home. Some countries, such as Somalia, experienced minor disruptions, while others, like India, Sri Lanka and Nepal, were forced to temporarily suspend their operations. Direct support such as face to face meetings, airport pick-up and field visits remained suspended in most countries. Watch the video below to learn about the specific challenges ERRIN partners had to encounter in different parts of the world.