The Returns Network is an open newsroom which brings together specialist and non-specialist journalists around one of the most complex issues facing Europe. Returns are fast emerging as the favoured tool of policymakers responding to the perceived need to control migration to the developed world. Deportations and voluntary returns of asylum seekers and migrants are being scaled up in Europe with little public scrutiny or understanding of the socio-economic costs or consequences.

The Returns Network, launched in October 2018, is an independent journalistic venture that seeks to address serious gaps in publicly reported data. The Network includes reporters, editors, researchers and data journalists across a selection of E.U. member states, as well as the countries refugees and migrants are being returned to.

In Europe, the Network investigates the public agencies and private actors involved in deportations and returns, their profits, tactics and cost to the public. In Afghanistan and Nigeria, it covers the reality of returns, their impact on individuals and societies, as well as the frequency of repeat migration.

In addition to its investigation into the full spectrum of returns, the Network is developing a database of returns-to-harm (returnees from the E.U. who have faced persecution on return to either their country of origin or a third country). If you are working on, or aware of, cases that might be relevant to the database we would like to talk to you. Please leave a message at


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