Return usually suggests the process of being sent back to the country of origin or habitual residence. ECRE encourages all stakeholders to use the following definitions of return:
ECRE does not dispute the fact that governments have the right to return asylum seekers whose applications have been correctly rejected. Nevertheless, ECRE believes that people should only be returned following a fair and efficient examination of their asylum claims.
Where return is not possible for technical or other reasons, or where it would be inhumane, people should be granted a legal status to remain in the country of residence. States should prioritise voluntary repatriation and ensure that all returns are carried out in a safe, dignified and sustainable manner.
The Directive on common standards and procedures for the return of irregularly staying third country nationals was endorsed by the European Parliament in June 2008 and officially adopted by the Council on 9 December 2008. Once in force, EU Member States will have to incorporate it into national law within two years. The Directive foresees the imposition of entry bans which will prohibit deported asylum seekers from coming to the EU for up to 5 years, without taking into account possible changes in the circumstances of their countries of origin which may force them to leave again. Furthermore, under the Directive Member States will be allowed to detain people who have committed no crime, including unaccompanied children and families, for a period of up to 18 months.
The EU is also pursuing Readmission Agreements with several third countries as a way to facilitate the return of people who have entered states' territories irregularly or who have overstayed. Relying on existing readmission agreements, national authorities often return people immediately after they have crossed the border irregularly without previously ascertaining their protection needs.