Family Matters. A Study into the Factors Hampering Voluntary Return of Migrants Residing at Family Locations (IOM)
This study provides insight into the decision-making process of migrant families in family locations in the Netherlands, whose legal remedies in most cases have been exhausted, but nevertheless decide not to return.
This exploratory study has been developed under the project, Innovative Actions in Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration from the Netherlands and funded by the Repatriation and Departure Service of the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security.
The study examines the issue of voluntary return of migrant families, whose application for international protection has been rejected, and who reside in so called family locations (Gezinslocaties) in the Netherlands. Following the Dutch High Court ruling in the Ferreira case in 2012, the Government of the Netherlands organizes the housing of migrant families whose application for international protection has been rejected (and consequently obliged to leave the Netherlands) in designated family locations, until the youngest child has reached the age of 18. In that same year, the Government of the Netherlands introduced the Mauro law or Rooting law, followed by a child amnesty provision in 2013, legalizing a group of children and their direct families based on the rooting principle. Despite these developments, which intended to make a clear distinction between the right to stay and the obligation to leave, the return figure of migrant families in the family locations is relatively low.
The aim of this study is to provide more insight into the factors hampering voluntary return of migrants residing at the family locations. Based on those factors, possible incentives are identified that Dutch agencies could consider in addressing these obstacles to return. To that end, the study draws on quantitative population data provided by the Dutch Repatriation and Departure Service and semi-structured qualitative interviews with 20 migrants and 22 stakeholders working at the family locations.