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FAQs: Voluntary Return Good Practice Project

What does this project aim to achieve?

The Voluntary Return Good Practice Project aims to begin to address the gap in the provision of non-directive, impartial and confidential advice surrounding Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) options for asylum seekers and irregular migrants. We aim to achieve this through:

  • Building capacity of up to six beneficiary organisations to provide accurate and up-to-date advice around Voluntary Return
  • Providing an intensive training and mentoring programme that will promote Refugee Action’s good practice principles of nondirective, impartial and confidential advice.
  • Sharing tools for advocacy work to ensure clients can secure the best possible outcomes
  • Giving support on complex casework, through a second-tier advice service for those organisation

Why is pre-decision advice on Voluntary Return so important?

Voluntary return is complex and sensitive. There are legal implications of taking voluntary return which must be considered. Supporting people who are considering return often involves working with highly vulnerable and isolated individuals who may have multiple needs, priorities, vulnerabilities, and safeguarding concerns.

Individuals, who may present as not being especially vulnerable in the UK, may become vulnerable on return due to a range of socio-cultural and political factors. However other people may have a very clear idea about why they want to return and what they will do when they do return. They may have strong links in the country of return that can be an invaluable source of information, advice and support when thinking about or planning for return.

The principle behind a voluntary return program should be that people are supported to make informed decisions, address their concerns, engage in the process, and should they decide to return, plan and prepare for their return and (re)integration in such a way that they are able to take steps towards a sustainable future.

Who do we want to work with?

We are looking to work with 6 not-for-profit organisations who:

  • Are delivering frontline advice to asylum seekers and irregular migrants;
  • Committed to providing advice that is non-directive, impartial and confidential advice;
  • Receiving enquiries from beneficiaries on their options surrounding return
  • OISC level 2 accredited or working towards accreditation;
  • Able to commit required resources and timescale (4-6 months) both for training and post-training mentoring;
  • Shared values of a client-centred approach to giving advice, and that holds the principles of non-directive, confidentiality and impartiality at its core.

What support can you expect from the Voluntary Return Good Practice Project?

  • We will conduct a needs assessment to identify each organisation’s capacity and knowledge needs;
  • We will design an agreed action plan setting out how we will meet our objectives within the given time-frame (4-6 months depending on the organisation);
  • Effective face-to-face, workshop training, which is tailored to each organisation’s needs and resources;
  • Provide supervisory support; including file review, advice delivery monitoring, feedback support sessions;
  • Collaborate on any related material;
  • Give support with to deliver related events;
  • Be a knowledge resource, offering second-tier advice on complex cases.

What can you expect to gain from the Voluntary Return Good Practice Project?

  • A framework of standards for delivering advice and support to individuals and families considering return;
  • In depth understanding of specific considerations individuals and families will need to have in mind when thinking about return, including the legal implications of voluntary return, relevant legislation and the processes which should be followed;
  • Empowering beneficiaries to make informed decisions around voluntary return;
  • Have the tools to actively engage in advocating to ensure best possible outcomes can be secured for their beneficiaries.