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Refugees and migration

Advice and information about assisted voluntary return

We at the Diakonisches Werk Heidelberg (the social welfare organisation of the Protestant church in Heidelberg) assist people wishing to return to their country of origin. We will provide you with advice and information if you are unsure what awaits you upon your return or if you seek experienced assistance.

We are committed to continually improving voluntary return advice services in the Rhine-Neckar Region. Therefore, we have joined forces with three other organisations to form the Netzwerk Rückkehrberatung Metropolregion Rhein-Neckar (Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region, or MRN, network of assisted voluntary return advice services). Apart from the Diakonisches Werk Heidelberg, this network includes the Caritas Verband Mannheim (Caritas Mannheim), the Caritas Verband für den Neckar-Odenwald-Kreis (Caritas Neckar-Odenwald district), and the Caritas-Zentrum Ludwigshafen (Caritas Ludwigshafen).

Our advice service — who it is for

Our advice and information service about assisted voluntary return is for third country nationals. Under specific circumstances—about which we will inform you in detail—, persons wishing to return voluntarily are eligible for various forms of support. These reintegration programmes will include either financial assistance or in-kind contributions such as medication, participation in training or education schemes etc., and are designed to make your new start and social reintegration possible or, indeed, easier.

What's important to know: Our advice and information service is non-directional, voluntary and confidential. We will advise you on prospects of sustainable voluntary return to your home country, provide you with information about its current political and economic situation and with an overview of existing assisted voluntary return programmes. Together, we can explore your options for finding accommodation and employment, for attaining a sustainable livelihood and, if necessary, for medical care and your children's schooling and other qualification options. Furthermore, we will provide you with practical post-decision assistance concerning your return journey, and refer you to organisations in your home country.

We provide advice and information for third country nationals

  • with a residence title for specific purposes while your case is being considered [Aufenthaltsgestattung]
  • with permission to stay as a refugee / refugee protection [Flüchtlingsschutz]
  • with permission to stay for humanitarian reasons / humanitarian protection [humanitärer Aufenthalt]
  • with temporary suspension of removal [Duldung]
  • with pending, or without, status (permission) to remain in Germany

who currently live in Heidelberg or in the Rhine-Neckar Region and who are seeking advice and information about voluntary assisted return to their country of origin.

Help we can give — how we can assist you

If you are a third country national and you are either considering or have already decided to return to your home country, there are many ways we can assist you. We will provide you with advice and assistance about documents and the practicalities of your return. Additionally, we will give you an overview of financial support options and existing voluntary return programmes you might be eligible for.

The financial assistance you might be granted—which we will inform you about and, if you are eligible, assist you in claiming—may be used to cover travel expenses and expenses in the country of return for maintaining or setting up a business, training and education, healthcare and child care.

Our advice and information service about assisted voluntary return aims to

  • assist you in deciding whether to return
  • identify your status of residence and social situation in Germany
  • gather information about the situation in your home country and explore your individual reintegration options
  • clarify by which date and how the return journey is to be made
  • refer you to contacts in your home country
  • refer you to existing assisted return projects
  • help you to get potentially available financial support through assisted return programmes
  • assist you in planning your return journey
  • help make your return and integration back into society sustainable

Our work within the MRN network of assisted voluntary return advice services — how we stand today

Aware of the importance of active networking, we regularly meet to share our impressions and to collect valuable information and experience. Also, we aim to enhance the visibility of the individual advice services within the Netzwerk Rückkehrberatung Metropolregion Rhein-Neckar (MRN) (the Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region network of assisted voluntary return advice services). Our work is funded by subsidies from participating cities and districts and from the German Federal lands of Baden-Wurttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate. We also closely collaborate with partner organisations and networks in the various countries of origin.