IOM Event Explores Migration Reintegration Challenges and Opportunities of Women in Georgia

Ms. Sanja CELEBIC LUKOVAC, Chief of Mission at IOM Georgia addressing the audience at the event “Women and Migration: Reintegration Challenges and Potential”.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) – The UN Migration Agency successfully hosted the event “Women and Migration: Reintegration Challenges and Potential” in Tbilisi. In recognition of International Women’s Day, the event brought together key stakeholders from various sectors, including the Government of Georgia, embassies, diplomatic representations, UN agencies, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and women migrants themselves, to address crucial issues concerning women returnees in Georgia.

More than half of Georgian migrants are women. Recent times have witnessed a notable increase in the return of Georgian migrants, particularly from EU countries. These returnees comprise migrant workers coming back after decades of labor abroad, individuals with failed asylum applications, and those who sought medical assistance overseas. 

The distinguished speakers representing Government officials and international community delivered the opening remarks, including Ms. Sanja CELEBIC LUKOVAC, Chief of Mission at IOM Georgia, Ms. Nino TSILOSANI, Deputy Chairperson of the Parliament of Georgia and Chairperson of the Permanent Parliamentary Gender Equality Council, Dr. Sabine MACHL, UN Resident Coordinator in Georgia, Ms. Tamar TKESHELASHVILI, First Deputy Minister of Justice, Ms. Kaori ISHIKAWA, UN Women Country Representative and Mr. Nicholas CENDROWICZ, Head of Cooperation at the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia.

According to Sanja CELEBIC LUKOVAC, Chief of Mission at IOM Georgia, reintegration has not been an easy process for most returnees, especially women returnees. Over the years, Georgia has witnessed a steady growth in the numbers of returned migrant women. Returnees struggle to readapt and rebuild their lives once back home, especially because many of the same economic, social, and psychosocial factors that prompted them to migrate in the first place have remained unchanged.

“This year’s International Women’s Day is an important opportunity to once again highlight the importance of whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach for ensuring dignified return and sustainable reintegration. Migrant women are pro-active and ready to make use of all available services and possibilities. Assistance provided to migrant women impact their immediate family members, and re-migration intentions are much lower than those of men. According to our operational expertise, access to information, skills development, and financial literacy can increase the efficiency of reintegration for women migrants,” – commented Sanja CELEBIC LUKOVAC. 

At the event, women migrants have shared their experiences, providing valuable insights into the challenges they face during the reintegration process, including economic, social, and psychosocial factors. Officials discussed policy frameworks and initiatives to support women returnees. Experts explored strategies to integrate the female perspective into national and municipal development plans, as well as state and non-state programs.

Dr. Sabine MACHL, UN Resident Coordinator in Georgia emphasized that a growing number of global challenges undermine the progress towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals Agenda 2030, and the goal of gender equality and women and girl’s empowerment. Gender equality remains the greatest human rights challenge. “Investing in women is a human rights imperative and cornerstone for building inclusive societies. Many may struggle to reintegrate into their home communities or rebuild socio-economic networks. It is imperative that we recognize the critical necessity for targeted interventions and policies tailored to address the unique needs and challenges encountered by women returnees."

Nino TSILOSANI, Deputy Chairperson of the Parliament of Georgia, Chairperson of the Permanent Parliamentary Gender Equality Council, reiterated the Georgian Government’s commitment to advancing gender-responsive reintegration policies. She commented, "The more I think and work on this topic, the more clearly I see the need for an effective policy for the return of migrants. For a small country like Georgia it is particularly important to bring back the human capital.”

IOM Georgia has highlighted the changing dynamics and trends over the years with a particular focus on women returnees. According to IOM, women returnees face many challenges, including a lack of information about available resources and services upon return, a lack of competitive labor-market demanded skills or income opportunities, and limited access to medical services.

The event concluded with a renewed commitment to advance gender-responsive approaches in migration policies and programs, affirming the collective resolve to support the successful reintegration of women migrants into their communities.

SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
SDG 16 - Peace Justice and Strong Institutions