A growing body of international research, best practice and evidence, shows that the most effective ATD are those that engage migrants in immigration procedures, in particular though tailored case management. This involves a social work approach, empowering and building trust with migrants to work towards resolution of their case, thus achieving better results for both governments and the migrants involved.
Global comparative research, looking at 250 examples of alternatives to detention in 60 countries, found that such alternatives achieve very high compliance rates of between 70 and 99%, and higher levels of case resolution and voluntary return, at a fraction (less than 20%) of the cost of detention.
They work because people are more likely to stay engaged and comply with immigration requirements, including negative decisions on their status, when they feel they have been through a fair and efficient process, and have been able to explore all migration outcomes. In contrast, approaches based on coercion and detention can encourage migrants to resist perceived injustice, and decrease their ability and motivation to cooperate with government requirements.