Reintegration: a complex process

"This is a complex area that requires specific guidance on the application of good practice. A separated child should only be returned to their country of origin if the return is considered to be in their best interests. (...) Children should be fully informed, consulted and their opinion should be taken into account at all stages of the process. The length of time the child has been absent from the country of origin and age are important factors to consider in this process."

Program for separated children in Europe, Statement of Best Practice

"The UAM required to leave the country should be able to stay in the regular structures respectively in the structure that is already allocated to them, wherever possible and when it is in the best interests of the child."

Recommendations of the CDAS on children and unaccompanied youth in the field of asylum, 2016

The return as a sustainable option

Separated children and young people often face an uncertain future and insecurity that results. If the minors who have filed an asylum request often have temporary status, many of them are forced to leave Switzerland after reaching adulthood.

The return to the country of origin would appear, as well as integration in Switzerland or in a third country, as an option to consider in the search for a lasting solution. The return of young migrants who reach adulthood should not be systematic, but subject to a detailed investigation to determine the best option in terms of future prospects.

The lack of structures and social services for child and family protection in the country of origin can make cooperation difficult and a return risky. The reintegration of a minor or a young adult in the country of origin must thus follow a preparation and a special procedure to ensure a safe dignified return, respecting the needs of young people involved.

Contacts with the original environment

Reintegration in the country of origin is a long and complex process that must be part of the life plan of the youth and not represent an abrupt break. It is therefore important to help the minor to maintain contact with its original environment throughout their stay in Switzerland.

Programs to support reintegration

Several organizations are committed to supporting the reintegration (International Organization for Migration (IOM), Red Cross/Red Crescent (RCRC), International Social Service (ISS)). The different stages of the return should be carefully prepared. The reception and monitoring in the country are essential. To this end, it is important to have a network of partners abroad and good transnational cooperation.

When the different investigations in Switzerland and the country of origin show that all conditions are met and a return could be considered and that the persons in charge of the child (guardian, reference person, educators, psychologist) also support the project, the youth and his family should be prepared so that reintegration happens in the best conditions possible.