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Raphaelswerk e.V. is an independent organisation founded by the Catholic Bishops in 1871 to assist emigrants from Germany, i.e. individuals who want to leave Germany. It is an affiliate of the German Caritas. Raphaelwerk’s nine local counseling teams assist migrants by providing reliable and up-to-date information on living and reception conditions in destination countries and individual help with paper work and support programs. With regard to refugee clients, main areas of work are: counseling on assisted voluntary return and third country resettlement.Over the last four decades Raphaelswerk has assisted thousands of individuals in their resettlement or repatriation needs.


Raphaelswerk cooperates with civil society organisations, international agencies and with government authorities. It is linked to domestic, and to foreign relief agencies through the Caritas network. Raphaelswerk’s counseling services on site are operated by the local Caritas organisations which strengthens its role in a large national network of refugee and migrant services.

Support in the field of migration

​The focus of Raphaelswerk’s activities is on pre-departure counseling and assistance to individual clients, i.e. provision of up to date and reliable information (e.g. on housing, health care, education/schooling, employment, security issues, social services, etc.) and relevant contacts in Germany and in the country of return as well as assistance with support programs, paper work, travel and reintegration preparations.

Does the ERSO member offer pre-departure counseling?

Four local counseling teams run state and/or EU-funded pre-departure counseling projects. This includes outreach of face-to-face counseling within a larger geographic region, awareness raising among migrant and refugee workers and diaspora organisations, and capacity building of volunteers in refugee relief work. Further, Raphaelswerk provides guidance to persons being readmitted to another EU member state in accordance with the Dublin regulation.

What kind of reintegration assistance does the ERSO member offer to returnees?

Raphaelswerk counseling service offers assistance with travel and start-up assistance programs funded by the federal government, the German states and the European Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF). On a case-by-case basis, additional in-cash or in-kind assistance is made available through local or regional authorities, churches, or volunteer groups. Raphaelswerk caseworkers further offer follow-up support, if wished for by the returnee. Vulnerable persons are in the centre of Raphaelswerk’s activities.

Target group of the ERSO member (in the context of return and reintegration)

Target groups of Raphaelswerk’s pre-departure counseling service are migrants, recognized refugees and failed asylum claimants who consider returning to their home country, for legal or personal reasons.


Our work is supported by the German Catholic Bishops’ Conference and the The Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. Counseling activities on site are funded by the Catholic dioceses and different state and EU project grants.

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