04 February 2010: Research on migrant re-integration services published
Dr Darren Thiel and colleagues' work on migrants' experiences of the UK Border Agencies' Assisted Voluntary Return programmes has been published in a series of Home Office Research Papers.
Overall the results of their initial evidence review suggest that increasing the monetary value of reintegration assistance does not of itself necessarily lead to an increase in the numbers taking up AVR or reintegration assistance. This assistance can be more effective if tailored and targeted to overcome returnees' particular barriers which can include uncertainty about accommodation or employment on return, general economic uncertainty, lack of opportunity for education and the personal shame of having to return. These same factors can also be barriers to successful reintegration; hence effective improvements in this area should benefit returnees (by enhancing the sustainability of return) and host countries (by making AVR more appealing).
A second piece of work based on empirical research has also shown that the targeted use of ethnic media can improve participation rates and that the programmes' reputations among potential applicants should be further developed, focusing on the few return destinations, like Iraq, where the arrangements for assistance delivery are less well established. Finally the work suggests that systematic mechanisms should be developed to record returnees' informal feedback. This should help to fill the knowledge gaps caused by the lack of monitoring for those returning without reintegration assistance.