Between a rock and a hard place


This report from the UK think tank Social Market Foundation considers a reboot for the UK’s Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) programme for irregular migrants.

Twenty years old, the UK’s Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) programme for irregular migrants should be in the prime of youth. Instead it seems worn out, old before its time, unloved by all. Yet the UK’s need for it has arguably never been greater. It is time for a reboot. We need to talk about AVR again, and out of those discussions we can leverage the UK’s unique experience of AVR to launch a much more attractive and effective AVR programme. A reconsidered, reconstituted and rebooted AVR programme can use the formidable array of practical knowledge and experience available in the UK in this area to achieve increased migrant returns, increased migrant welfare and increased public confidence. This Report is the SMF’s contribution to that process; considering the lessons from the past, analysing the program’s current state and challenges, and making practical recommendations for the future vision and operation of the programme.

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