Capacity Building and Implementation of Assisted Voluntary Return Program

Duration of the project: October 2004 – July 2005
Finance: The project was financed by the Ministry of Interior of Slovakia and by the EU through the European Refugee Fund.

Illegal migration is a problem that is becoming more serious all around the world. IOM as an organization with a mandate to facilitate organized and humane migration helps all migrants who decided to return to their home country. According to the available statistical data emmigration, immigration and transit migration in Slovakia intensified after 1989. This fact was reflected in an increased interest in the Programme of Assisted Voluntary Returns.

The Capacity Building and Implementation of Assisted Voluntary Return Programme project implemented between October 2004 and July 2005 contributed to strenghtened implementation of European politics in the area of voluntary returns of the target group of the European Refugee Fund. According to the Council Directive from September 28, 2000, article 3, establishing the European Refugee Fund it is required for a country to provide migrants of the respective target group with the possibility of returning to country of origin in an organized and humane way.

Preparation and realization of the return within the framework of the Capacity Building and Implementation of Assisted Voluntary Return Programme project included buying of airplane tickets, transport from the place of residence to airport, provision of a financial grant, assistance at transit airports and arrival assistance to place of residence.

Apart from the realization of voluntary returns itself, preparation and implementation of an information campaign constituted a considerable part of the Capacity Building and Implementation of Assisted Voluntary Return Programme project. This campaign was targeted to increase public awareness of voluntary returns among the target group. The aim of this campaign was to broaden the spectrum of available information so that migrants were able to make an informed decision about voluntary return in case their asylum application was denied or in case they decide to withdraw the application themselves. During the 10 months that the project lasted 132 migrants were informed about the Programme at individual meetings. As part of the campaign information materials in 11 language versions were prepared. This helped to increase awareness of the Programme among a higher number of migrants. During the implementation of the project 78 persons were registered in the Programme. Out of all the registered 59 persons returned to their country of origin. Travel document was issued for 36 persons.

Another aim of this project was to create a stable network of partners in asylum facilities. IOM established cooperation with 3 non-governmental organizations - the Goodwill Society, Slovak Helsinki Committee and Slovak Humanitarian Council which implement their activities on a long-term basis in MoI asylum facilities. Moreover, IOM developed active cooperation with social workers in detention and asylum facilities of the MoI. Social workers of non-governmental organizations and MoI attended various trainings in order to be able to provide the target group with information about the Programme in a competent way. Based on these meetings and discussions IOM took concrete steps related to the preparation and realization of returns.

A significant outcome of this project was the creation of a central database used for recording registered and returned migrants. The database enables evaluation of the Programme with respect to countries of origin or gender of returnees, as well as prediction of long-term trends in the area of voluntary returns in Slovakia.

The Capacity Building and Implementation of Assisted Voluntary Return Programme project confirmed the effectiveness of the existing mechanism for implementation of voluntary returns in Slovakia. What is more, the project helped to identify areas in which existing standards needed to be improved in order to provide integrated and complex assistance with return to country of origin and to raise migrants’ interest in voluntary return.

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