The European Commission has published its "Return Handbook"

A the beginning of December 2017, the European Commission has published the common "Return Handbook". It provides Member States with common guidelines, best practices and recommendations to be used by Member States' competent authorities when carrying out return-related tasks. 

The objective of this Return Handbook is to provide guidance relating to the performance of duties of national authorities competent for carrying out return related tasks, including police, border guards, migration authorities, staff of detention facilities and monitoring bodies. The content of the handbook deals essentially with standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals and is based on EU legal instruments regulating this issue (in particular the Return Directive 2008/115/EC).

The "Return Handbook" recommandations aim at clarifying - inter alia:

  • frequently used terms (third country national, illegal stay, return decision, risk of absconding...)
  • sanctions for infringements of migration rules
  • apprehension and obligation linked to the issuance of a return decision
  • voluntary departure and removal procedures
  • entry bans issuance
  • detention conditions and the legal framework (including detention of minors and families)

Lastly, this handbook does not create any legally binding obligations upon Member States and it does not establish new rights and duties. Only the legal acts on which this handbook is based on, or refers to, produce legally binding effects and can be invoked before a national jurisdiction. 

For further information, see the Commission Recommendation in the Official Journal of the European Union.


Publication Date: Tue 19 Dec 2017
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