Financial incentive. Reward for good behavior. Gift. Bribe. Call it what you like, but payments to migrants to encourage them to return to their countries of origin are now key to Europe’s migration policy. They are also creating a problem.
The amount offered in so-called assisted voluntary return payments varies considerably across the EU. Migrants in Germany, for example, can receive upwards of €5,000 in payments and in-kind assistance to leave, while those in the Czech Republic receive nothing. That has created perverse incentives, with the European Commission warning about migrants “shopping” around for the best deal.