Finding Agreement in Return (FAiR)

FAiR logo

The FAiR (Finding Agreement in Return) project will assess the legitimacy deficits and dilemmas of enforced return, and alternatives to return in Europe. A host of irregular migrants currently live in de facto “limbo” conditions in Europe, with significant economic and human costs. According to registrations, less than 20% of all non-European nationals receiving an order to leave, voluntarily return to a third country or are deported. Those not returning receive limited opportunities to regularize their stay, since states fear that regularization attracts irregular migration, and will not be supported by voters. FAiR promises to bolster EU return migration governance by addressing the legitimacy deficits that plague policies on return and alternatives to return. FAiR complements dominant rational choice perspectives by systematically assessing the importance of norms, frames and shared meanings for intergovernmental cooperation on return. Together with stakeholders in EU+ and non-EU+ countries, FAiR pushes quantitative and qualitative research boundaries in the field, focusing on 5 non-EU+ (Georgia, Iraq, Niger, Nigeria, Turkey) and 5 EU+ states (Germany, Italy, Norway, Poland, Switzerland). Specific contributions of FAiR include: econometric models to reduce measurement bias in Eurostat return data; better measurements of Europe’s return policies through a Migration Return Policy Index (MIREX); causal inference analysis for all EU+ countries on the effects of policy and non-policy drivers of enforced return; a large survey experiment in 10 EU+ countries on public support for alternatives to return policies; improved guidelines for the human rights monitoring of enforced return; and, a negotiation and implementation game that will help international actors to reach agreement on return and readmission. FAiR offers multidisciplinary expertise and comprises a mix of academic, policy research, governmental and irregular migrant advocacy organisations, spanning Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

The Project 101094828 — FAiR is funded within the HORIZON-CL2-2022-TRANSFORMATIONS-01 call of the European Union. The Coordinator of the project is the Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam (the Netherlands). Partners in the project are the Foundation for Access to Rights (Bulgaria), Instytut Nauk Prawnych Polskiej Akademii Nauk (Poland), Migration Policy Group (Belgium), Universitat Fur Weiterbildung Krems (Austria), Universita Degli Studi Di Milano (Italy), Samuel Hall East Africa (Kenya), International Centre For Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), Koc University (Turkey) and Platform For International Cooperation On Undocumented Migrants (PICUM).

The project’s implementation started on 1 May 2023 and will last for 42 months.

Follow the project on social media!

 Website -

 X (twitter) - fair_return

 Linkedin - fair-return

 YouTube - HEIrregularMigration


Funded by EU

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Research Executive Agency. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.