A spurious relationship?

Assisted voluntary return and development

Authored by: Katie Kuschminder

The Routledge Handbook of the Politics of Migration in Europe

Print publication date:  July  2018
Online publication date:  July  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138201187
eBook ISBN: 9781315512853
Adobe ISBN:


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Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) programmes are an important component of migration management in most European countries. AVR policies and programmes aim to encourage migrants (primarily those without a right to stay in the host country) to return voluntarily to their country of origin. It is an exceptional practice of some Western European countries to promote AVR as a policy tool for development, the arguments for which are examined in this chapter. The purpose of this chapter is to provide an overview of AVR policies in Europe and examine debates regarding AVR policies, which many view as controversial. First, the policy arguments for AVR are examined as well as the contrasting criticisms of AVR policies. Second, factors influencing migrants’ decision making for participating in AVR is discussed as well as the role of policy levers used to increase uptake in AVR. Third, the chapter explores the relationship between AVR and development through a discussion of reintegration, sustainable return, and different measures of development. The chapter concludes by illustrating the lack of evidence to demonstrate a relationship between AVR and development.

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