Terugkeer / Return to country of origin

Dutch Regfugee Council (VluchtelingenWerk) offers to asylum seekers who have been rejected to stay in the Netherlands help to return back to their country of origin. During the asylum procedure, asylum seekers have already been prepared for the possibility that they cannot stay in the Netherlands. If the asylum application has been definitively rejected, asylum seekers must principally leave the Netherlands within four weeks. After this term, they no longer receive shelter or housing.

Organising the return to the home country is far from simple after many years of stay in the Netherlands. How safe is the situation in the country of origin now? Are there any jobs? And how will the family react to the return? The Refugee Council helps refugees prepare themselves for their return by 2 projects: A New Chapter and With Raised Head.

Year(s): N/A

Target group(s): asylum seekers who have no right to stay in the country

Website: https://www.vluchtelingenwerk.nl/feiten-cijfers/procedures-wetten-beleid/terugkeer


Project 'A New Chapter'

With the New Chapter project, the Refugee Council helps (especially) asylum seekers who have no more rights to stay in the asylum procedure. Together with the clients the possibilities are discussed: a possible (new) procedure, the consequences of illegal stay and support for return. Practical and emotional thresholds are handled so that the clients can make a well-informed choice. This is done following a national, uniform methodology of 20 support points. If the client decides to return, s/he receives further guidance by the Project With Raised Head' or through re-integration activities by one of the partners of the Refugee Council. This ensures that the return goes as smoothly as possible.

Project 'With Raised Head'

In this Project, clients are assisted in the preparation of the actual return and their reintegration. For this purpose the Refugee Council makes contacts between the client and a partner organization in the country of origin. Possibilities for work, own business, contact with family, education, medical care or housing are discussed and agreed on and a plan of action is developed.

The partner organization in the country of origin supports the return of the clients when executing their plan. Employees of this kind of local organizations know the country better and can therefore provide good information about the political and economic situation and opportunities for building a new existence. Thus, the asylum seekers can return back to their country "with their head raised".    

Type of product


Brief description of the product / outcome / method

How to help asylum seekers who may no longer stay in The Netherlands return to their country with the head raised.    

Impact on target groups / Transferability potential

Both projects provide the target group with perspective for new existence.

The Refugee Council considers it important that returning happens  according to a number of principles:

  • There is an 'independent departure', ie the (former) asylum seeker is well informed and returning to his/her country is his/her own decision.
  • Returning must be safe. Legal safety: Is it possible to return without fear of persecution or inhuman treatment? But also physical security (during the trip back, including protection against armed attacks) and material security (including access to the land and the acquisition of means of existence). The Refugee Council  follows the safety situation in the countries of origin closely and adapts the policy according to the situation.
  • The return must be worthy and there must be a perspective for a new existence in the country of origin.
  • The return is monitored to protect the rights of the individual asylum seeker and to contribute to an effective return policy.

With good guidance, return to the country of origin is possible and safe. The Refugee council believes in that.    

Promoter of the initiative

Name of organization / individual:

Country: Netherlands

Website: www.vluchtelingenwerk.nl

Contacts: Annet IJff, aijff@vluchtelingenwerk.nl

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