Return and Reintegration Assistance to Unsuccessful Asylum Seekers and Irregular Migrants from Slovakia to Countries of Origin II

Duration of the project: April 2010 – February 2011
Finance: The project is co-funded by the Ministry of Interior of Slovakia and by the EU through the European Return Fund within the framework of the General Programme Solidarity and Management of Migration Flows.

As in its previous phases, the project rests on three pillars: i. Information campaign on voluntary returns; ii. Implementation of voluntary returns; iii. Reintegration in the country of origin.

Information campaign

Dissemination of information on Assisted Voluntary Returns and Reintegrations Programme (AVRR) is the key component of the programme. IOM strives to ensure that all migrants who may be in need of the programme’s services know about the option of return and are able to quickly obtain all necessary information. The posters and leaflets of the programme are regularly distributed to the facilities of the Alien and Border Police Bureau, Migration Office of the Ministry of Interior, Offices of Labour, Social Affairs and Family, relevant embassies and NGOs. Migrants can also obtain information through low-cost phone line 0850 211 262 (through which about 150 consultations were provided during the project) and the AVRR Programme webpage avr.iom.sk (in six language versions).

The core component of the campaign is personal contact of IOM staff with migrants at individual or group information meetings. The meetings allow for the provision of comprehensive information according to migrants’ concrete needs. During the second phase of the ERF project, IOM organised 144 information meetings which were attended by almost 500 participants.  If a migrant shows interest in the programme, further counselling is provided on an individual basis in the IOM office or at the facility where they live. During the project, IOM provided around 500 individual consultations.

Returns

The core element of the programme is to ensure safe return of migrants home, wherever possible to their final destinations. The process of the return starts with the individual’s registration in the programme which includes a declaration of voluntariness. Despite this registration, the migrant can opt out of the programme at any time during the return preparation. The preparation of the return includes procurement of emergency travel documents (if applicable), logistic preparation of the return (preparation of the travel plan, purchase of flight tickets, transport to the airport or another point of departure, co-ordination of the return with the Ministry of Interior and the airport). During the return, IOM provides assistance at the airport, at the departure point or at a border crossing (when travelling by train). The operation staff accompany migrants through check-in, passport control and the airport terminal to the departure gate. Assistance is also provided in transit points and, if requested, after arrival to the country of origin.  If deemed necessary and especially in cases of vulnerable migrants, IOM can provide accommodation, food and pay for basic health care. During the 11-month project, IOM implemented 101 assisted voluntary returns.

Reintegration assistance

Since 2008, the AVRR Programme in Slovakia has been helping migrants to re-establish themselves in the country of origin through various forms of reintegration assistance. This kind of help promotes the humanitarian aspect of the programme and increases the sustainability of individual returns. Migrants interested in obtaining the assistance, are offered counselling with view to drafting a reintegration plan reflecting their needs, skills and interest. As a part of the counselling session IOM first gathers information on the applicant’s profile, professional, educational and personal backgrounds and the individual context of the return. In the second part, IOM and the returnee elaborate the actual reintegration plan.

During the project 25 reintegration grants were awarded and implemented in 6 countries of origin (Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kosovo, Moldova, Russia, Vietnam). Out of 25 implemented reintegration schemes, 88% fell into the category business start-up, 4% into educational assistance and 8% into material assistance. The reintegration grant was for example used towards the establishment of a tailoring or weaving business in Vietnam, equipping a car service in Georgia or car wash in Azerbaijan or for purchasing cattle for a farm in Kosovo.  The reintegration grants are a concrete, direct form of assistance to individual returnees which help them get through the difficult time after the return. Indirectly, however, they also help the community in which the returning migrants live, e.g. through service provision and employment of further employees, etc.

Since March 2011 the project continues with its third phase.

Success stories

Films - Stories of migrants

Photogallery

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