Return of a minor to country of origin

Return of minors to country of origin is subject to special IOM internal guidelines and is organized in accordance with international covenants on the protection of rights of a child.

IOM mission abides by special rules and internal regulations when accompanying a minor which are in accordance with protection of rights of a child and which strictly follow the principle of benefit and safety of the minor in question. Based on this reason it is always necessary to check and look into family conditions of the minor in country of origin.

During the minor’s stay in Slovakia IOM mission contacts the minor through his/her guardian and interpreter in order to obtain information about his/her situation. Both missions in question, the one in Slovakia and the one in country of origin, must have written declarations and requests for return from both sides involved, i.e. parents and the child. Moreover, there must be a written record that conditions in the child’s family were examined.

To carry out the return a personal consent and voluntary statement of the minor proclaiming s/he wishes to return to country of origin is needed.

Transport of the minor is secured by an IOM person accompanying him/her and a hand-over protocol is signed between the IOM missions in question at the airport. This protocol is subsequently sent to competent organs which provided for the minor’s stay in Slovakia.

Concrete example of a minor’s return

Daniel was born in 1988 in Chişinău in Moldavia. He illegally crossed the Slovak borders in 2004 and he found himself on the territory of Slovakia as an irregular migrant, in position of a minor.  

After Daniel registered himself at the department of Alien Police and Passport Service in Košice, they communicated to the Department of Social Affairs in Košice that there was an unaccompanied minor migrant in the territory of Slovakia who does not possess any documents. Moreover, they notified them that the handling of his case would require a certain time period during which it was necessary to place the minor in the asylum centre in Rohovce and place him under the care of an individual or legal entity or assign a guardian to him in accordance with law.   

The District Authority in Košice II - the Office of Labour, Social Affairs and Family put forward a motion to court for emergency ruling calling for placing the minor in the asylum centre in Rohovce and appointing him a guardian instead of placing him in a foster care.

However, since Daniel did not apply for asylum he could not be placed in the asylum centre in Rohovce and the Department of Alien Police provided him with accommodation in a foster care home in Košice.The guardian appointed by court represented Daniel in all communication with Slovak institutions and applied for a tolerated stay in Slovakia on his behalf. He was granted this stay at the beginning of September.

Discussions with Daniel were hold in the presence of the guardian, alien police employee and interpreter. During these discussions Daniel expressed his wish to return to his country of origin. He considered his decision to leave his country of origin as ill-judged.

In relation to voluntary return of a minor the guardian contacted first via phone and then in a written form the IOM mission in Bratislava and asked IOM for cooperation in carrying out Daniel’s voluntary return to Moldova. Subsequently, a written request form along with an authorization for the realization of voluntary return was submitted to IOM Bratislava. The applicants discussed the precise wording of this authorization for IOM with their legal department in Košice.

IOM Bratislava contacted the IOM mission in Moldova and informed them about the request of a minor to return from Slovakia to his country of origin. The IOM mission in Moldova got in touch with family of the minor and examined Daniel’s family conditions by visiting the family and interviewing them. In September 2004 Daniel’s mother provided the mission with a written statement asking IOM to assist with returning her minor son from Slovakia. In this statement she also affirmed that she would receive her son from IOM employee upon return and that she would assume full responsibility for him. This declaration along with the report on family situation was sent by the IOM mission in Moldova to IOM Bratislava.

Upon receiving this statement the IOM mission in Bratislava could commence the procedures related to voluntary return and issuance of travel documents for Daniel. IOM employees regularly contacted the legal representative of the minor and inquired about the minor’s condition.  

The guardian together with the interpreter and Daniel filled out the registration form into the AVRR Programme and the request form for obtaining emergency travel documents. They sent both of these forms to the IOM office in Bratislava. Consequently, the mission was able to manage the issuance of travel documents, buy a plane ticket and organize escort for Daniel for his flight back home.

The Office of Labour, Social Affairs and Family asked in a written form IOM Bratislava for assistance in retuning the minor. A few days before the flight the office granted an IOM worker power of attorney over the minor to accompany him to his country of origin. IOM worker assumed responsibility for the minor at the Košice airport where he was brought by foster care home workers. She was responsible for his safety throughout the flight and at the Chişinău airport she handed him over to an operational assistant from IOM Chişinău who facilitated transport to minor’s place of residence and meeting with his family. Upon handing over of the minor at the Chişinău airport representatives of both missions signed a hand-over protocol which contained names and dates of birth of both escorts, as well as the name, address and date of birth of the minor. The protocol was produced in the English language with precise dating and stamps of both missions. A copy of this protocol was sent to guardian of the minor in Slovakia.

Success stories

Films - Stories of migrants


Voluntary Return and Reintegration in Country of Origin (Individual Project).

This project is co-funded by the European Union from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF). Internal Security Fund.

Assisted Voluntary Returns and Reintegrations
International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Slovakia