REvolTURN - Managing migrant return through 'voluntariness'

Researcher: Reinhard Schweitzer

Supervisor: Sieglinde Rosenberger


Project duration: 1.10.2018 - 30.9.2020

Funding: EU/Horizon 2020 (H2020-MSCA-IF-2017 - Project number: 790197)


About the project

The European Union and many of its Member States increasingly rely on public policies for the so-called ‘voluntary return’ of irregular migrants and (refused) asylum seekers. Very little is known about how these approaches work in practice and whether they meet stated policy goals and discharge state obligations regarding migrants’ human rights. The project REvolTURN addresses this research gap through a close and comparative analysis of ‘voluntary return’ policies in Austria and the UK, including their adoption, implementation and immediate outcome. It examines 1) how voluntariness of return is constructed and framed in law, policy and public discourse, 2) which notions of voluntariness are crucial for policy implementation, and 3) what impact this has on migrants’ own decision-making about their return. REvolTURN thereby addresses a key priority of the Horizon 2020 work programme: to better manage migration, and will contribute to recent scholarship regarding the in/effectiveness of migration policies and the agency of migrants holding no or highly precarious statuses.


Activities & Events


Project-related literature and publications

  • Working Paper: “Using or Inducing Return Aspirations? On the role of return counsellors in the implementation of assisted voluntary return policies in Austria and the Netherlands” (co-authored with Laura Cleton, University of Antwerp). Published by the International Migration Institute (IMI) at the University of Amsterdam, in February 2020.