IOM Georgia Strengthens Municipal Service Hubs Network to Support Returning Migrants

2nd consultative meeting of the Service Hubs Network in Tbilisi

Tbilisi, February 1, 2024 – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) Georgia convened the 2nd consultative meeting of the Municipal Service Hubs Network in Tbilisi, marking a significant step toward enhancing services for returning migrants and local communities. The meeting brought together counselors from eleven Service Hubs positioned in municipalities such as Ozurgeti, Chokhatauri, Baghdati, Tskaltubo, Kharagauli, Khoni, Telavi, Akhmeta, Kvareli, Lagodekhi, Batumi, and Tbilisi (Samgori district).

The Municipal Service Hubs, strategically established in collaboration with local governments, serve as direct reference centers for individuals with migration histories. These hubs offer tailored counseling to address the diverse needs of the local population. Whether it’s access to state-run programs or non-state initiatives, the counselors guide beneficiaries toward relevant services.

Ms. Sanja Celebic Lukovac, Chief of Mission of IOM Georgia emphasized the critical role of Municipal Service Hubs in addressing the increasingly diversified needs of returnees, stating, "Through the Municipal Service Hubs Network, IOM Georgia is creating a vital infrastructure to address the evolving needs of returnees, contributing to the successful reintegration of individuals and fostering community development”.

As part of their ongoing efforts, IOM has conducted a feasibility survey examining the institutionalization and digitalization of Municipal Service Hubs. The organization envisions supporting local government in integrating these centers into the institutional setting and digital local governance infrastructure, ensuring the long-term sustainability of their impact.

Highlighting Georgia's robust migration policy, Ms. Celebic Lukovac emphasized the importance of translating policies into action and ensuring that these new hubs transform Georgia’s migration policies into tangible benefits for returnees, potential migrants, and community members. 

Over the past two years, IOM Georgia has diligently developed the concept of Municipal Service Hubs. This initiative will expand further in the coming year with additional centers opening in 12 municipalities in other four regions of Georgia. 

The consultative workshop allowed Municipal Service Hubs' counselors to exchange knowledge, share lessons learned, and generate valuable recommendations. Participants reviewed the operation of the Municipal Service Hubs, focusing on achievements and challenges related to counseling returned migrants, while exploring opportunities for further development.

This initiative is conducted within the project “Enhanced Opportunities for Returning Migrants in Georgia,” funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and co-funded by the IOM Development Fund (IDF).

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