Current practices of “interception-at-sea” preempt many travellers, from irregular migrants to would-be refugees, from claiming a legal right to enter the EU. This policy often hinges upon the consent of the sending country to agree to have its waters policed by foreign maritime authorities and to accept the return of migrants provided that countries of destination are willing to fund the camps and detention centres where migrants end up after their frustrated attempt to leave. This paper asks the following questions: how does extraterritorial migration control accommodate for the EU’s legal requirement to abide by quality of legislation? Are key elements of the better law making agenda neglected or hindered by such practices? In particular, do policymakers take into account the right to leave of those who are sent back? Can externalities of these ‘push-back’ policies be monitored? Do we face the new safe haven of arbitrary law-making and state discretion?