A glimpse into the lives of Frontex return specialists


One significant aspect of Frontex’s operations involves managing the return of individuals who do not have a legal right to stay in the EU.

Frontex Return Specialists work in close coordination with Member States in the pre-return phase to facilitate these return procedures, ensuring they are conducted efficiently and in full compliance with fundamental rights.

A Return Specialist navigates multiple roles to assist member states in varied tasks: Third Country Cooperation Return Specialists facilitate the identification and acquisition of travel documents and manage relevant case systems; Return and Reintegration Counselors provide return counseling, detail reintegration options, and assist with digital case management for third country nationals amidst both voluntary and forced return procedures; while Return Systems Specialists process bookings and assist with various case management systems.

Asimina Alexandridi 

I am Asimina Alexandridi from Greece, currently serving as a return specialist in Bulgaria. Stationed right at the Bulgarian-Turkish border, I often view my workplace as a symbolic bridge between the East and West.

In my role as a return and reintegration counsellor, I assist individuals who have recently entered the European Union, predominantly from the Middle East and regions affected by prolonged natural disasters and conflict. On a daily basis, I conduct brief interviews with migrants, facilitated by our skilled interpreters. My aim is to understand their aspirations and to inform them comprehensively about the potential benefits of voluntary return and the prospects of rebuilding their lives in their home countries.

I recognise the challenge in discussing the possibility of returning so soon upon their arrival. Yet, I’ve observed a sense of gratitude among them for receiving this information. It’s essential to have a contingency, a “plan B”, and it comforts them to know that there’s an alternative path should they encounter difficulties.

Living in Bulgaria has been a delightful experience. Its climate mirrors the warmth of my homeland, Greece. The diverse natural landscape, from mountains ideal for hiking and skiing to the coastlines of the Black Sea, is easily accessible from where I’m based. What I particularly cherish about Bulgaria is its delectable cuisine and the genuine warmth and hospitality of its people.

Andrej Casar

Hello, I’m Andrej. Whenever I share that I’m a Return Specialist in Iceland, I’m invariably asked: “Are there any unauthorised residents in Iceland? How do they get there?” 

Though not an EU member, Iceland is a Schengen Associated Country. Like other European nations, they struggle with managing unauthorised third-country nationals. The ease of intra-Schengen flights amplifies this challenge by simplifying travel to the island.

I work at the Support Unit of the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police. We manage all kinds of returns – both voluntary and forced – of third-country nationals.

My duties span a wide array of tasks. These include cooperation with non-EU countries for travel document acquisition, return and reintegration counselling, promoting voluntary returns and reintegration programs, and implementing the Joint Reintegration Services (JRS) programme introduced by Frontex last year.

Iceland’s landscapes are pristine, diverse, and utterly mesmerising. One humorous yet true observation about its weather: if you’re displeased with the current conditions, simply wait 15 minutes. It’s bound to change!

While the country’s rugged terrain and chilly climate may be challenging at times, especially during winter, the warmth of its people is unparalleled and has greatly eased my transition into both my professional role and life here.

Balancing my duties with my wanderlust, I couldn’t have asked for a more fitting deployment!

Return operations and reintegration services

For more information on the different phases of return and support offered by Frontex, visit our website: Return operations.

For more information on Frontex reintegration assistance, visit our website: Reintegration assistance.