A study of the 27 Member States and Schengen associated countries conducted by Ramboll and EurAsylum for the European Commission has found that the rights accorded to migrants pending return varies significantly across Member States.
The research entitled, ‘A study on the situation of third-country nationals pending return/removal in the EU Member States and the Schengen Associated Countries’, shows how the interpretation of the Returns Directive as well as the method of accommodation for migrants pending return impacts on the access of basic rights such as healthcare and education.
The study deems that a determining factor for the livelihoods of the people concerned is whether migrants are offered accommodation or not, and if this accommodation is at a reception or detention centre. Migrants kept in closed detention centres were found to have less access to rights, whereas those in open centres were able to access more basic rights, including education for minors, and healthcare provisions.
Only 12 out of the 31 counties have what is known as an official postponement, or ‘toleration status’ which gives migrants the permission to stay pending their return or removal and grants them additional rights compared to those enjoyed by other migrants pending return/removal.
The study concludes with recommendations to look further into the lack of legal definition of migrants pending return, as well as the different degrees of rights accorded to the migrants pending return depending on their situation.