Reintegration assistance

Reintegration assistance refers to the support provided to migrants returned to their countries of origin. In accordance with its mandate, defined in the legal basis, Frontex supports EU Member States and Schengen Associated Countries in providing reintegration assistance both during the first days following the arrival in the country of origin (post-arrival assistance), as well as longer-term assistance up to 12 months (post-return assistance) to help third country nationals reintegrate into their societies. Examples of assistance provided include support with accommodation, medical assistance, job counselling, education, family reunification and other.

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The legal basis for reintegration assistance is Article 48 (1) (a) (i) of Regulation (EU) 2019/1896 on the European Border and Coast Guard. Frontex also contributes to the return policy of the EU, in particular in the EU Strategy on Voluntary Returns and Reintegration.

Additional language versions: Arabic (AR), French (FR), Spanish (ES), Farsi (FA), Hindi (HI), Armenian (HY), Georgian (KA), Turkish (TR), Urdu (UR) and Kurdish (KU) in two variants Kurmanji and Sorani are available in the Public Register of Documents.

EU Reintegration Programme

These reintegration assistance activities and/or services are currently being implemented by Member States through various national and EU programmes involving a broad range of partners around the globe offering such assistance. However, the landscape of policies, practices, and capacities in Member States for implementing reintegration assistance is very diverse. Some Member States have built up large capacities in this area, while others have not been able to do so due to capacity or budgetary constraints. The implementation of the EU Reintegration Programme as a European-wide provision of reintegration assistance with equal standards and equal treatment for third country nationals eligible for support aims to harmonise these efforts and ensures that all Member States can provide reintegration assistance with equal standards to third country nationals, with less administrative and financial obligations.

Frontex is not implementing these activities itself. It makes use of reliable reintegration partners operating around the globe providing post-arrival and post-return assistance. Their reintegration services are overseen by a dedicated Evaluation and Monitoring Framework.

The activities under the EU Reintegration Programme are fully financed by the Frontex budget. The objective is to support up to 7,000 people annually, both individuals and families, depending on the needs of the Member States and the available budget.

Where do we work?

Reintegration coverage world map

Who qualifies for reintegration assistance?

Not everyone can qualify for these services. Only third-country nationals returning both voluntarily and non-voluntarily who no longer fulfil the conditions to stay in the EU can be qualified. They can request reintegration assistance up to 6 months after departure from the host country.

Third country nationals with legal stay and those under the temporary protection directive do not qualify for reintegration assistance offered under the EU Reintegration Programme.

It is important to note that the EU Member States and Schengen Associated Countries participating in the EU Reintegration Programme decide how the EU Reintegration Programme is implemented in accordance with their national procedures and legislations.

Types of reintegration services

The services supported by Frontex are divided into three packages that can be used separately or combined.

Post-arrival package

These services or activities include the immediate assistance upon arrival in the country of origin and are organised and coordinated between the responsible Member State and the reintegration partner. This short-term assistance may include:

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Post-return package

These services or activities include the long-term assistance activities which can be implemented up to 12 months after the date of departure. They may consist of:

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The post-return package is always a result of collaboration between the concerned third country national, the responsible authority in the Member States, and the contracted reintegration partner. Together, they develop a tailor-made reintegration plan based on the person’s personal situation and needs. In this respect, return and reintegration counselling is crucial to ensure that the person can make an informed decision about the future, but also to increase the quality of the reintegration assistance implemented delivered by the local reintegration partner.

Charters flight support

Recently Frontex added a new package with limited services specifically for those third country nationals who are forcibly returned by a charter flight.

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Reintegration Assistance Tool

The case handling of the EU Reintegration Programme is done through a digital platform, called the Reintegration Assistance Tool (RIAT), developed and owned by the European Commission. This online tool simplifies and standardises the exchange of information on the reintegration process to the best benefit of third country nationals, reintegration partners and Member States. It provides an end-to-end live overview of the case, including the application, the development and approval of a reintegration plan, and the reporting. Also, it also serves as an important source of data for evaluation and quality monitoring purposes.

The EU Reintegration Programme is currently active in 37 countries of origin. However, this number is expected to grow further in 2024, in line with the operational strategy on more effective returns. As mentioned above, Frontex is not implementing the reintegration assistance, instead it relies on the expertise of reliable reintegration partners from the civil society sector with whom Framework Partnership Agreements were concluded. They are:

To oversee the quality of services, a dedicated Evaluation and Monitoring Framework is in place.

Reintegration conference

Frontex’s Reintegration Conference is a regular event held by the Post-Return Unit (within the Return Division) to address reintegration policies and related topical issues in an interactive manner. It brings together authorities of EU and Schengen associated countries, reintegration partners, the European Commission, researchers, civil society organisations, and experts on migration.

As a unique forum for facilitating developments in the field of reintegration, the conference aims not only at increasing awareness of the main challenges in the reintegration assistance but also at initiating a profound discourse on further harmonisation of the post-return standards and their glossary across the EU. This meaningful debate encourages reflection on current strengths and areas with growth potential, exchange of best practices and development of key recommendations. Moreover, it examinates the realities of the reintegration in third countries in order to foster partnerships and create synergies where possible.

The conference is also the place where the concepts and innovations regarding return and reintegration counselling are discussed, exchanged and challenged. Its format is designed to enhance interaction through panel discussions, lectures and workshops that address the most crucial aspects in the post-return domain.