Refugee Action outraged by Home Office’s threatening voluntary returns campaign

Refugee Action is outraged and appalled by the new Home Office threatening advertising campaign urging irregular migrants to voluntarily return home.

The charity currently runs the Choices Assisted Voluntary Return service. Funded by the Home Office but run independently by Refugee Action, the Choices service provides independent, confidential and non-directive advice to people who are considering returning to their home country.  

The Choices service is just one of many provided by the charity to support people who are seeking protection in the UK. The service is driven by the principle that everyone should have the right to make an informed decision about their own future and is completely separate from the Home Office’s voluntary departure programme.  

Dave Garratt, Chief Executive of Refugee Action, said: "We are horrified that the Home Office has opted for such a threatening approach to their voluntary return programme. Where is the evidence that creating such a hostile environment will increase the number of people who choose to return voluntarily?  

"We believe people who are considering assisted voluntary return should be supported so they can make an informed choice about their own future.”

Garratt said that many of the people they support are “hugely vulnerable having fled torture or persecution in their country.”

“Some are destitute in the UK, with no means of supporting themselves. For them, making the decision to return home will be one of the most difficult and traumatic of their lives. This is why it is so vital that they are given a safe and supportive environment to consider their future," Garratt added.

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