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About the network



ERSO Network members

  • respect the individual’s right to self-determination to decide for or against a voluntary return by providing impartial non-directive information

  • stand for respect for human dignity and human rights with special measures for vulnerable persons

  • stand for fair procedures and best practices in voluntary return and reintegration counseling and assistance services.

ERSO Network members provide and/or implement

  • impartial counseling and/or assistance to migrants in regular or irregular situation regarding their voluntary return and reintegration, and/or

  • reintegration measures after return in partnership with civil societies in countries of origin, and/or

  • capacity building measures aiming at informing potential migrants about migration laws and policies and implications of irregular migration

The ERSO Network further

  • enhances understanding, and is complementary to existing government programs focused on voluntary return and reintegration.

  • wants to contribute to the harmonization of the current systems and different approaches implemented by EU Member States which not only build up an unfair system, but bear a potential of discontent between returnees and challenge the sustainability of a voluntary return.

  • aims at building upon more coherence of projects and possibilities in the field of voluntary return and reintegration.

  • engages in capacity building for civil society organizations in EU member states interested in working in the field of pre-departure counseling and/or reintegration support measures

We offer support for return and reintegration in a variety of countries, together with our partner organisations in the ERSO network.

Quality Framework

Quality Framework

This Quality Framework is built upon a solid foundation of principles and values that underpin the work of the European and international NGOs and civil society organisations co-operating in the ERSO network. It is designed to support ERSO members and affiliates/partners in their work and offers national and EU institutions an approach to develop their knowledge and understanding of return.



In 2007, the ERSO Network was established by 9 European NGOs to improve the quality and effectiveness of counseling and return assistance for migrants returning to their Countries of Origin (CoO). Today, after some changes in membership, the ERSO network consists of eight members: Caritas Austria, Caritas International Belgium, Dutch Council for Refugees, Micado Migration Germany, Raphaelswerk Germany, Danish Refugee Council, Caritas Norway, Caritas Europe (Observing member).


Since its establishment, 4 projects have been delivered by the ERSO network:



The first project, ERSO I, started in 2007 and focused on the exchange of information among the European ERSO members through internships. The project’s goal was to enable ERSO staff to learn from each other’s practical work, to become acquainted with the specific institutional environment in each EU country and to learn more about the NGO contacts in the refugee origin countries. The founding partners were Refugee Action UK, Caritas International Belgium, Caritas Austria, JRS Portugal, Caritas Bulgaria, ICMC, Caritas Europe, Raphaelswerk Germany, Caritas Essen and the Dutch Cordaid-Mediation Agency for Return.


ERSO II, launched in 2008, offered reintegration support in Armenia, Kosovo, Mongolia, Ukraine and Sierra Leone. The exchange of information under ERSO I was the foundation for the implementation of the focal point system: a European ERSO member is responsible for the follow-up of reintegration support in a particular country of return. From the original partners, only JRS Portugal withdrew, while the Spanish NGO ACCEM and Caritas Hungary joined. Ukraine Solidarity New was framed within ERSO II and focused on reintegration and networking in Ukraine.


ERSO West started in January 2011 and ended in December 2013. This project offered reintegration support in 5 African countries (Morocco, Senegal, Togo, Cameroon and Sierra Leone) through 5 local NGOs that had already formed a partnership with one of the European ERSO members. Caritas International (Belgium), Accem (Spain) and Maatwerk bij Terugkeer (The Netherlands) were the European focal points for these countries.


The ERSO Sustainable Return of Vulnerable and Disabled persons (SURE VD) project supported vulnerable and disadvantaged people in their reintegration process. The project ran between November 2012 and April 2014. ERSO SURE VD was comprised of 4 European focal points, Maatwerk bij Terugkeer (the Netherlands), Caritas Austria, Refugee Action (United Kingdom) and Caritas International (Belgium), 3 Asian countries, Iraq, Mongolia and Pakistan, and a learning partner, MET Action (Greece).

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