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Assisted voluntary return

Audit Id 1550578907012
Title Assisted voluntary return
Title in original language

Vapaaehtoisen paluun järjestelmä


Year 2019

Immigration, Integration



Type of performance

Performed by single SAI

Comments Assisted voluntary return refers to the programme under which a person who has sought international protection but has decided to voluntarily return home is given cash assistance and/or in-kind assistance to support the return process. The purpose of the performance audit was to assess the measures taken by the Government and how those measures have affected the use of the system by asylum seekers. Based on the audit, in principle, the programme functions effectively and the costs involved are relatively low. Although the Government has enhanced the measures supporting voluntary return, since 2016, the number of voluntary returnees has reduced since many asylum seekers rather appeal the rejection decision or file a subsequent application. The Government has issued a proposal for a legislative amendment to clarify the conditions of admissibility of subsequent asylum applications. Assisted voluntary return reduces the number of escorted returns and related costs, as well as the time asylum seekers spend at reception centres, and thus helps to reduce the costs of reception and prevent and reduce potential costs associated with illegal residence in Finland. According to theaudit, increasing the amount of cash assistance has failed to increase the use of the system. In-kind assistance could be more effective in encouraging asylum seekers to return home voluntarily. A recent decree issued by the Ministry of the Interior proposes increasing the maximum amount of in-kind assistance. EU funding has also been used in the development of the voluntary return programme. The development project also aims to establish new operating models. The effectiveness of the programme could be ensured by assessing the measures implemented and by monitoring the benefits and impacts of the two assistance types.



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Anna-Liisa Pasanen
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