Legal and Policy Infrastructures of Returns in Germany

Country Dossier (WP2)

Release Date



  • English


  • Migration and Forced Displacement

This report focuses on the legislative and institutional frameworks, as well as the procedural infrastructure related to the return of rejected asylum seekers and other unauthorised migrants from Germany between 2015 and 2023. The analysis shows that the political rhetoric of ‘closing the deportation gap’ and improving returns through increased effectiveness has had important policy consequences since 2015 and has continued under the current coalition government formed in 2021. The so-called return offensive rhetoric has been translated into legal provisions to increase the number and effectiveness of returns as well as a growing emphasis on finalising international migration ‘partnership’ agreements. Beyond politics of return, the field of return governance in Germany is very dynamic and, at the same time, reveals structural deficiencies, operational shortcomings, heterogeneous practices and internal contradictions. There are clear gaps in at least six areas, including legislative structure, institutional framework, international cooperation, data collection/sharing, implementation and political communication. 

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Cite as

@techreport{MielkeŞahin-MencütekWolf, author = "Katja Mielke and Zeynep Şahin-Mencütek and Daphne Wolf", title = "Legal and Policy Infrastructures of Returns in Germany", latexTitle = "Legal and Policy Infrastructures of Returns in Germany", publisher = "GAPs", institution = "GAPs", type = "Report", year = "2024", address = "Bonn", }