This report looks at how countries of origin and destination can improve the way they tackle irregular migration with a more effective return and reintegration strategy, drawing on in-depth qualitative research carried out with returned migrants and stakeholders in Morocco.

The report presents new data on what drives return and describes the actions required to ensure that return and reintegration policy is effective, efficient, humane and - most importantly - sustainable.

The current approach to the return of irregular migrants from Europe to Morocco is characterised by an unwillingness to take responsibility on both sides. Current policy in both European countries and in Morocco is expensive, ineffective and harmful to returnees. While forced removal continues to be the key European policy response to irregular migration, it remains an ineffective means of preventing remigration in the long term. Therefore, there is a clear need for a new policy approach to irregular migration that serves better the interests of European countries, Morocco, and migrants themselves.

Our research findings show that the nature and experience of return is important to an understanding of the later success or failure of reintegration, and that migrants can be encouraged to return voluntarily if they are offered support that meets their needs and addresses their fears.

Reintegration is a crucial step towards achieving sustainable return. In particular, it is important to address the factors that led migrants to leave Morocco in the first place, to prevent further irregular migration. As well as supporting the migrants themselves, reintegration packages need to engage local actors who can assist returnees who struggle after the initial receipt of financial support, and help to meet their continuing needs, including their emotional and psychological needs.

This report makes a range of recommendations focused on Morocco and on European countries and other international organisations. Proposed reforms in Morocco address protection issues and the development and formalisation of networks in Morocco and regionally. Recommendations concerning reforms in Europe are focused on changes to the structure, funding, provision and monitoring of assisted voluntary return (AVR) schemes.

  • This report has also been published in French as Retour des migrants irr?guliers au Maroc: Quelle politiques de r?int?gration?
  • A companion report addresses transit migration in Morocco.