30 July 2020
The EU is aiming to prevent Nigerians from arriving in EU, and to deport many of those who have been living there irregularly. On their arrival back in Nigeria, those who are removed - whether by forced expulsion or through 'voluntary return' programmes - receive differing levels of support, but both face challenges that may lead them to re-emigrate.
Nigerians returned from Europe face stigma and growing hardship (The New Humanitarian, link):
"The EU is doubling down on reducing migration from Africa, funding both voluntary return programmes for those stranded along migration routes before they reach Europe while also doing its best to increase the number of rejected asylum seekers it is deporting.
The two approaches serve the same purpose for Brussels, but the amount of support provided by the EU and international aid groups for people to get back on their feet is radically different depending on whether they are voluntary returnees or deportees.
Back in their home country, little distinction is made between voluntary returnees and deportees. Both are often socially stigmatised and rejected by their communities. Having a family member reach Europe and be able to send remittances back home is often a vital lifeline for people living in impoverished communities. Returning – regardless of how it happens – is seen as failure.
In addition to stigmatisation, returnees face daily economic struggles, a situation that has only become worse with the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on Nigeria’s already struggling economy.
Despite facing common challenges, deportees are largely left to their own devices, while voluntary returnees have access to an EU-funded support system that includes a small three-months salary, training opportunities, controversial “empowerment” and personal development sessions, and funds to help them start businesses – even if these programmes often don’t necessarily end up being effective."
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