refugees, European

Brussels: Migrants are 'shopping around' EU to be sent home on the best conditions

As a part of EU migration policy, which claims that, wherever possible, voluntary return schemes are preferable to forced return schemes, most EU countries offer cash incentives to migrants, whose applications to stay are unsuccessful, inducing them to return to their countries of origin. Amount varies significantly from one EU country to another, sometimes depending on particular migrant's country of origin and age, creating a trend among gumptious refugees to end up in the most generous country, like Germany or France.

The EU supports member countries in funding the return schemes, mainly through its Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF). For the 2014-2020 period, it allocated €800 million from AMIF funds, adding a further €200 million earlier this year.

In February, Germany increased its voluntary return payment from €500 to €1200. Including in-kind assistance, the total amount a migrant receives can be up to €5000. The UK, which is on its way of leaving EU as well, offers around €650 and another €1850 of in-kind, while France offers the same cash benefit but their in-kind payments are at up to €7000. Norway is the most generous EU country, offering £2,250 in cash and another £4,300 in-kind, while by contrast, the Czech Republic offers nothing.

Even though there are some serious flaws in the system like EU countries’ need for a unified payment and some discrepancy between stated sums and the real ones, voluntary return schemes seem to work. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), there were 81,575 assisted voluntary returns from Europe last year.

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