Awareness and image of voluntary return - the perspective of irregular migrants and their representatives in Belgium (KUL)

What image do irregular migrants and their representatives have of voluntary return? Is voluntary return well-known? These topics are the focus of a study carried out by the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL).

The KUL study, carried out at Fedasil's request, aims at assessing how voluntary return is perceived by irregular migrants and their representatives in Belgium. First, it analyses whether the voluntary return program is well-known to them, and if it is, how they perceive it. Secondly, the study provides several recommendations to improve awareness of the voluntary return programme as well as its credibility.

Interviews have been conducted in Brussels and Antwerp with different organisations dealing with migrants issues (NGOs, Public Centers for Social Action) and with migrants themselves. These interviews showed - inter alia - that:

  • Voluntary return is mostly known to migrants who have already been involved in an asylum procedure in Belgium.
  • Voluntary return remains still unknown to a large amount of migrants, and contact points such as Fedasil’s return desk in Brussels remain insufficiently known.

Some of the study’s recommendations:

  • Increase the positive implication of NGO’s ;
  • Adapt the communication tools which are frequently misunderstood ;
  • Guarantee a clear and unequivocal image of the program.

In response to the study recommendations, Fedasil has already taken several measures :

  • Fedasil has created a website on voluntary return.
  • Fedasil has placed new posters in the different organizations and new brochures are used during the interviews.
  • Fedasil collaborates more and more with local administrations and NGOs based in the big cities by creating, among others, contact points for voluntary returns.

The study report, including a short summary in Dutch and in French, is available on Fedasil's website.

Publication Date:
di 10 mei 2016