The effectiveness of EU border and migration policies relies on the effective return of third-country nationals who do not have the right to stay in the EU. According to Eurostat, the number of people ordered to leave the territory of the EU dropped after 2020, falling as low as 287 000 in the period of January-September 2022. The drop was even more significant in the number of people who were effectively returned, which halved between 2019 and 2022 (see Figure 4). There is a persistent gap between the number of return decisions and effective returns, as only about one third of the people who receive a return decision leave the EU. This return rate dropped to under 20 % in 2020 and 2021 – it was 25 % in the first three quarters of 2022. Overall, of the four million people ordered to leave between 2013 and 2021, only 1.3 million returned (32 %).
Return decisions and effective returns (thousands)
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