Migrant Protection and Assistance
Through its Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) Programmes, IOM aims at orderly, humane and cost-effective return and reintegration of migrants who are unable or unwilling to remain in host countries and wish to return voluntarily to their countries of origin. Beneficiaries of AVRR programmes include rejected asylum seekers or those likely to face rejection of their claim, irregular migrants, stranded migrants, victims of trafficking and other vulnerable groups, including unaccompanied minors, elderly people, or those with health-related needs.
In Georgia IOM operates this AVRR programme for both citizens of Georgia returning from destination countries in Europe, as well as for foreigners residing on the territory of Georgia to help them get back to their countries of origin.
Assisted Voluntary Return to Georgia
The return and reintegration package typically comprises free travel, airport assistance and secondary transportation, vocational training, provision of temporary accommodation and medical assistance for returnees from specific countries and support in start-up of income-generating activities. The main purpose of AVRR programmes is to minimize the reasons why the returnees had to go abroad in the first place (lack of employment and income, problems with access to healthcare, etc), so that in future migration would be their choice rather than a necessity.
In the last 10 years IOM Georgia has assisted 7993 cases (9926 Georgian nationals) from 30 foreign countries to return to Georgia voluntarily. Main countries of return were Greece, Germany, Belgium, Poland and Switzerland. In the same period 3695 cases have received post-arrival assistance in Georgia. 2083 income-generating activities have been financed in the field of agriculture, live-stock breeding, trade in various commodities, bakeries, technical services, etc. Different types of trainings have been completed successfully by 165 beneficiaries mainly in the service sector (beauty salons, IT), accounting and languages. 166 persons have started jobs. 522 persons have received different types of medical assistance. 274 families have been provided with temporary accommodation and 365 cases have been assisted with livelihood and household items. Reception and secondary transportation to final destinations throughout Georgia has been provided to 324 cases.
Since visa liberalization in March 2017 the numbers of Georgian nationals travelling abroad have increased and hence the numbers of those who return by different ways, including IOM’s assistance, are going up.
Assisted Voluntary Return from Georgia
Since 2013 the IOM office in Georgia has been operating a comprehensive AVRR programme for foreigners residing in Georgia who express the wish to return home, but do not have the resources for that. This programme consists of pre-departure counseling and humanitarian assistance, travel arrangements and subsequent reintegration assistance in their home communities thanks to the involvement of IOM offices in their native countries.
On top of organizing these individual movements, IOM assist the Georgian authorities in developing high standards of return management, including for those migrants who have been accommodated in the migrant detention centre, based on the principle that voluntary return should be prioritized over forced return options.
Over the past 6.5 years, IOM has assisted 531 migrants to return home in dignity.