Region/Country: Africa and Middle East/Ghana


Present in Ghana for over 25 Years

IOM has been active in Ghana since 1987 and has contributed to the Government of Ghana’s efforts to manage migration effectively through a wide variety of projects and programmes. The organization’s main office is in Accra with sub-offices located in Accra, Brong Ahafo Region – Nkoranza, and Northern Region – Tamale. IOM activities are implemented in all 10 Regions of Ghana.

IOM Accra started its programmes by supporting the institutional capacity-building needs within the country through Phase Two of the Return of Qualified African Nationals (RQAN II) programme (1988-92). This programme facilitated the return of highly qualified African nationals including Ghanaians residing in the diaspora to contribute to the socio-economic development of Ghana by returning home to take up key positions in priority sectors including health, education, economics, finance, public service, and political administration.

Since then, the office has grown to address a variety of migration management needs. During the past 10 years, IOM Accra has been involved in migrant resettlement (refugees) and the movement of various migrants for family reunification and other opportunities to various countries throughout the world. Other IOM Accra activities include migration policy development, labour migration, migration and development, combating human-trafficking, assisted voluntary returns, border management, information campaigns on the risks and realities of migration, and humanitarian and emergency response.

IOM Ghana Facts and Figures (2002 – 2014)
Programme # Beneficiaries Assisted
Refugee Resettlement, Repatriation and Migrant Services 43,766 refugee resettlements, 12,911 repatriations and 8,027 migrant travel services  supported
Migration Health Services 103,270 migrants received health assistance
Emergency and Post-Crisis 29,265 migrants provided humanitarian assistance
Return and Reintegration 2,587 migrants assisted with return and reintegration since 2006
Counter-Trafficking (victims of trafficking assisted) 732 trafficked children rescued, rehabilitated, reunited and reintegrated
MIDA (Ghanaian diaspora) Over 35,000 health workers and students in Ghana benefitted from diaspora support
Pre-departure Cultural Orientation 3,113 migrants provided cultural orientation

Facilitating Migration

Labour Migration

Two key labour migration projects supported by the IOM mission in Ghana include the AENEAS 2006 Labour Migration Project for West Africa (LAMIWA), which ran from 2006 to 2011; and the Best Practices on Collecting and Sharing Labour Migration Data for the Improvement of Labour Market Information Systems (LMISs), which ran from 2010 to 2013.

The LAMIWA project sought to promote migration management through a national assessment of labour migration policies, capacity-building activities, information campaigns on the risks of irregular migration and the promotion of inter-state dialogue and cooperation amongst African countries. Notable achievements include a comprehensive legislative review and ‘roadmap’ for future labour migration activities, national information campaigns and the assisted voluntary return and reintegration of irregular migrants in Libya. The IOM mission in Ghana also provided IT and office equipment and labour migration policy workshops to build the capacity of government officials in the country. These activities laid the groundwork for fostering circular migration for Ghanaian workers to Italy. A Labour Migration Unit was established in Ghana within the Labour Department, Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, and a database was launched to support a job-matching scheme between Ghana and Italy and select EU Member States. The main focus for the pilot migration scheme was the agricultural sector.

IOM Ghana has also contributed to the implementation of a European Commission (EC) and IOM Development Fund (formerly 1035 Facility)-funded programme concerning the establishment or enhancement of labour market information systems in six countries. The overall objectives of the project were to support the inclusion and proper management of labour migration information in LMISs, to contribute to policy-making with a view to fostering greater intra-regional labour mobility and international dialogue and cooperation, and to enhance the positive effect of migration on the economic development of the six countries. The initial phase of the project included a country background study that analysed the labour migration information sub-system in Ghana, and a series of workshops that allowed countries to share lessons learned and good practices.

The organization is supporting Ghana’s Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations and Labour Department, to implement two key pilot initiatives as part of the LMISs project. These two initiatives namely the development of a labour market database and Labour Department Strategic Plan will enable the production of accurate and reliable labour market information and build institutional capacity for the Labour Department to fulfil its legal mandate.

Migrant Support

IOM Ghana provides international migration services, including concession fares, for Ghanaian nationals who are issued with United States, Canada, and Australia Immigrant Visas and for immigrants from various countries in the West Africa region who have been granted a visa for family reunification purposes.

In 2012, IOM partnered with the British Council to provide 83 Sub-Saharan students with travel support to sponsoring universities in the United Kingdom, France and Ireland. In addition, IOM established a partnership with Syracuse University Abroad (SUA) to provide study abroad opportunities in Ghana to American university students.

Pre-Departure Cultural Orientation

The Australian Cultural Orientation (AUSCO) and the Canadian Orientation Abroad (COA) complement the Australian and Canadian Resettlement Programmes. Pre-departure cultural orientation helps to prepare refugees accepted for resettlement by providing them with relevant information about their host countries. Migrant orientation focuses on empowering refugees and enhancing their abilities to become self-sufficient, and assists to meet their immediate socio-cultural needs on arrival and better integrate into their respective new societies.

Main Projects

  • AENEAS 2006 Labour Migration Project for West Africa (LAMIWA) (2006-2011)
  • Best Practices on Collecting and Sharing Labour Migration Data for the
    Improvement of Labour Market Information Systems (LMISs) (2010-2013)
  • Australian Cultural Orientation
  • Canadian Orientation Abroad
  • Family Reunification to Europe
  • Syracuse University Abroad (SUA) Student Migrant Programme
  • United States Immigrant Visa holder migrant support
  • Canada Immigrant Visa holder migrant support
  • Migrant support to other countries

Related Document

Forced Migration

Emergency Response and Post-Conflict
IOM Accra provides support to the Government of Ghana through the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) to address the humanitarian and emergency needs of those affected by natural and man-made disasters – for example, the Ivory Coast crisis, which resulted in large-scale out-migration into Ghana of Third Country Nationals (TCNs), refugees/asylum seekers, and returning Ghanaians; the Libya crisis, which resulted in the evacuation of over 18,000 Ghanaians who returned to Ghana in large numbers over a two-month period  - and continued arriving in smaller numbers for almost a year; and natural disasters such as floods (2010), in which IOM provided non-food relief items to 4,000 households and assessment support to NADMO.
For Emergency and Post Conflict activities, IOM works closely with the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), Ghana Refugee Board, NADMO, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Interior, local authorities, UN agencies, NGOs, and other stakeholders.

The United States Refugee Admissions Programme (USRAP), the Canadian Resettlement Programme and the Australian Resettlement Programme facilitate the processing of refugee resettlement cases from West and Central Africa, referred by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and accepted by major resettlement countries, such as Australia, Canada and the United States. IOM Ghana also assists in the resettlement of refugees to European countries on a smaller scale. Assistance includes flight reservations, travel assistance including local transportation, medical assessments to ascertain fitness to travel, airport departure and transit assistance, escorts if required, and document verification. Since 2006, IOM Ghana has provided operational support to more than 29,000 migrants within the West Africa region.

Voluntary Repatriation

In 2012, IOM in coordination with UNCHR facilitated the voluntary repatriation of 2,843 Liberian refugees, many of whom had resided in refugee camps in Ghana since the Liberian conflicts of the 1990s. IOM provided fitness-to-travel assessments, assistance with pre-departure arrangements, ground transportation from Budumburam and Krisan refugee camps to Accra, airport assistance including immigration formalities and check-in and boarding procedures, the provision of food and beverages for the duration of the movement, air transportation from Ghana to Liberia, inflight assistance, arrival assistance in Monrovia, onward transportation to final destinations across Liberia and overnight accommodation if necessary.

In 2013, IOM facilitated the repatriation of Liberian nationals from Ghana. In cooperation with IOM Liberia and funding from the Government of Japan, the IOM Mission in Ghana assisted stranded Liberian nationals residing in Ghana but not registered as refugees, to voluntarily return home. Efforts in Ghana raised awareness about the project and established registration focal points for non-refugee Liberian nationals.

Main Projects

  • United States Refugee Admissions Programme
  • Canadian Resettlement Programme
  • Australian Resettlement Programme
  • Voluntary Repatriation of Liberian Refugees in Ghana
  • Repatriation of stranded Liberian migrants from Ghana, Nigeria, Guinea Conakry and Sierra Leone to Liberia

Related Documents

Migration Health

IOM Accra's Migration Health Department (MHD) continues to implement migration health-related programmes in West and Central Africa on behalf of governments.

Health services are provided to migrants supported under the main refugee resettlement programmes – United States Refugee Programme (USRP), the Canadian and Australian Resettlement Programmes, and to a lesser extent to refugee resettlement and family reunification to Europe. In addition, there are a variety of self-payer and government-sponsored health services required, which include migration health assessments, pre-departure medical screening to establish fitness to travel and vaccinations. The aim of migration health assessments is to reduce and better manage the public health impact of population mobility on receiving countries, facilitate integration of migrants through detection and cost-effective management of health conditions and well as to provide information on medical condition of migrants. To ensure safe and dignified travel, IOM allocates a doctor or a nurse escort to an individual or group of travellers to provide medical and logistics support during the journey, as and when required. IOM Accra also implements DNA testing to establish affidavit of relationship for family reunification cases traveling to Italy, Canada, UK and USA. In the past five years, IOM has provided health support to over 40,000 individuals.

IOM Accra also assists the Government of the United Kingdom with a tuberculosis control screening programme (UKTB Detection Programme) for long-term migrants who are eligible to travel to the UK under qualifying visas. The objective of the programme is to address public health needs on the spread of infectious tuberculosis in the United Kingdom. An average of 4,300 individuals from Ghana, Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin, Nigeria and Côte d'Ivoire participate annually in the UKTB programme.

A landmark health screening project came to a close on 30 May 2014 in Western Ghana. IOM’s TB REACH project, implemented by the Ghana Health Service and the IOM Migration Health Unit, was launched to intensify tuberculosis (TB) detection among refugees and host communities, miners and mining communities, border communities and urban vulnerable communities. The project reached 347,263 individuals in five locations in the Western Region. A custom-made mobile diagnostic van carrying, two four-module GeneXpert MTB/RIF machines, was utilised during outreach efforts and to provide same day screening/results for tested individuals.

IOM Ghana also conducted a behavioural study on HIV vulnerability among Female Sex Workers (FSWs) along the Tema-Paga (South-North) transit corridor in Ghana. This project, funded by the UNAIDS’s Program Acceleration Fund, identified risk factors including mobility and the risk of HIV infection. The research was released in March 2013 and includes data on HIV and mobility that can be used to inform HIV prevention programmes targeting FSWs, including behaviour change communications and alternative livelihood strategies.

Within the framework of the Voluntary Repatriation of Liberian Refugees in Ghana project, IOM Ghana’s Migration Health Division (MHD) partnered with the St. Gregory Catholic Hospital at the Budumburam refugee camp to conduct “fit-to-travel” pre-departure medical screening (PDMS) and to administer the yellow fever vaccination to all refugees who requested return assistance to Liberia. Between May and December 2012, a total of 3,236 refugees were examined prior to their repatriation.

Main Projects

  • United States Refugee Admissions Programme (USRAP)
  • Canadian Resettlement Programme
  • Australian Resettlement Programme
  • UK TB Detection Programme (UKTBDP)
  • Research: HIV Vulnerability Among Female Sex Workers Along the Tema-Paga (South-North) Transit Corridor
  • Voluntary Repatriation of Liberian Refugees – Pre-departure medical screening and vaccination
  • Various government-supported programmes

Related Documents

Migration And Development

The Migration for Development in Africa (MIDA) Ghana Health project was implemented from 2005 until 2012 with funding from the Netherlands Embassy in Accra. It enabled Ghanaian and other African health professionals residing in the Netherlands and some European countries to contribute to the health sector of Ghana by returning for up to three months to provide health services including clinical and surgical procedures in various hospitals and clinics. Over the past seven years, Ghanaian health professionals in the diaspora have contributed their expertise in hospitals, clinics, health centres, and health training institutions in various ways, with a focus on capacity-building through skills transfer to working colleagues.

The project ensured an active and essential role for the Government of Ghana through the Ministry of Health and various health training institutions located throughout Ghana. It also sought to foster sustainable cooperation and synergies between diaspora networks in the Netherlands, United Kingdom and Germany with links to health institutions in Ghana.

Within the MIDA health project, over 40 health institutions and 34,000 beneficiaries (health professionals, students, and patients) in Ghana have benefited from 213 temporary assignments by Ghanaian Medical Professionals residing in the Netherlands, United Kingdom, and Germany. Areas of expertise include orthopaedic surgery, mental health, urology, public health and health education, institutional management, and information communication technology (ICT).

 A separate project which focuses on the Ghanaian diaspora in Italy has provided support to the agriculture sector in Ghana through technical and financial support to set up small and medium scale enterprises.

In 2013, the Temporary Return of Qualified Nationals III (TRQN) project was launched. The objective of the project is to make a contribution to the national development policies and strategies by engaging overseas migrant communities in improving the capacity of governmental and non- governmental institutions. The current initiative with support from the Netherlands government is being implemented in seven other countries (Afghanistan, Armenia, Cape Verde, Georgia, Ghana, Iraq, Somalia and South Sudan). IOM Ghana will liaise with the Ghanaian diaspora in the Netherlands and government partners to facilitate virtual and physical skills transfer assignments. The project will contribute to the improvement of the capacity of private and public institutions in prioritized economic or social sectors towards the development of government policies, programmes and facilities within the framework  of migration and development.

IOM’s initiative for Mainstreaming Migration into the National Development Strategy in Ghana was initiated in September 2011 and funded by the European Commission and United Nations Joint Migration and Development Initiative. The overall goal of the project is to draft a comprehensive and coherent national migration policy for Ghana that will be integrated into the national development strategy. A draft policy was completed in March 2014 by an Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee and is currently waiting for validation from relevant stakeholders.

Launched in 2011, the Diaspora Engagement Project aims to support the Government of Ghana  to facilitate the skills transfer of diaspora to achieve development goals. Since its inception, the project has contributed towards the establishment of a Ghanaian diaspora website, Diaspora Support Unit within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and greater dialogue among diaspora and development stakeholders Ghana. In 2014, a Diaspora Affairs Bureau was established within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, bolstering efforts to improve effective migration management and national development planning.

Main Project

  • Migration for Development in Africa (MIDA)
  • Temporary Return of Qualified Nationals (TRQN) III Ghana  
  • Implementation of Mainstreaming Migration into the National Development Strategy in Ghana
  • Diaspora Engagement Project

Related Documents

Regulating Migration


The Assisted Voluntary Rescue, Rehabilitation, Return, and Reintegration of Ghanaian Children Victims of Trafficking for Labour Exploitation in Fishing Communities in Ghana Project began in October 2002 with the generous support of the US State Department – Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM). This partnership continued through 2011 and allowed IOM to rescue more than 700 children at risk; educate tens of thousands of people living in fishing and sending communities about the perils of child trafficking and enhance the capacity of the Government of Ghana, leading to the eventual adoption of anti-trafficking legislation in Ghana (2005 – Human Trafficking Act 694).  

IOM efforts to rescue children from a form of modern day slavery caught both national and international attention. Internationally recognized media outlets such as New York Times (2006) and the Oprah Winfrey Show (2007) featured the plight of children trafficked to the fishing industry. Oprah’s sent reporter Lisa Ling to Ghana to film the conditions facing fishing children and invited an IOM field officer to participate in a one-hour segment of the Oprah Winfrey Talk Show.

Various schools, private and charitable organizations expressed interest in providing additional visibility and financial support for the project. Examples include a group of teenage girls from Merrick, New York who were inspired to start their own NGO called ’One is Greater than None’. Another unique partner is high school social studies teacher, Evan Robbins from Metuchen, New Jersey, who founded ‘Breaking The Chain Through Education’ with his students. Finally, a couple in Columbus, Ohio founded Global Grandparents a group that engages with the community in an effort to raise funds for the rescue of trafficked children.

 IOM was nominated and short-listed for the 2011 Hilton Humanitarian Prize and was a 2012 recipient of the Dream Project Foundation – “Freedom to Walk” fundraiser to fight human trafficking worldwide.

In November 2012, IOM launched a new initiative aimed at building the capacity of local communities to address and prevent child trafficking and protection violations occurring in Ghana. In 2013, with support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), IOM developed a toolkit piloted in 6 communities in Ghana’s Volta Region. To date, main accomplishments, include the development of a child protection facilitation toolkit with 12 modules, pilot testing in 3 of the selected project communities, 18 reintegrated children in 15 communities provided with school supplies and monitored accordingly, A total of 7,389 community members were trained during 104 toolkit training sessions, and IOM formed sponsorship linkages with the US-based non-profit Breaking The Chain Through Education (BTCTE), for the sustained support of the 18 reintegrated children plus an additional 12 reintegrated children to continue after the close of the UNICEF project.

Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration

IOM's Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) Programme aims at the 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 Ghana. Pre-departure, transportation, and post-arrival assistance are provided to unsuccessful Ghanaian asylum seekers, migrants in an irregular situation, migrants stranded in transit, stranded students and other persons under similar circumstances. Pre-departure assistance typically provides information to ensure migrants make an informed decision about their return to Ghana. International flights, local transportation and support towards reintegration are usually provided. Within Ghana a variety of reintegration services are provided and may include post-arrival assistance, information and counselling, as well as assistance to establish a small businesses, engage in education or vocational training/skills enhancement, and job placement. Other reintegration assistance provided may include medical assistance and temporary accommodation. Reintegration assistance is provided in a holistic manner which is tailored to the specific needs of the migrant. Furthermore, community development initiatives are also implemented in order to address the root causes of irregular migration.

The main goal of AVRR is to enable returnees to regain a source of sustainable livelihood and thereby discourage any further irregular migration from Ghana. It is also an initiative to demonstrate to potential irregular migrants about the opportunities that exist in the communities of origin and discourage irregular migration. The programme also provides a humanitarian approach to the protection of migrants vis-à-vis forced removals or deportation.

The majority of Ghanaian migrants return from Libya, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. However, IOM has assisted voluntary returns from Belgium, Egypt, Finland, Italy, Israel, Malta, Morocco, the Netherlands, Niger and Norway among others . Since 2006, IOM Ghana has provided return and reintegration assistance to an estimated 2,000 Ghanaians.

Additionally, IOM Ghana provides AVRR assistance to non-Ghanaian migrants stranded in the country and the region. The Canadian funded AVRR project for West Africa has provided return and reintegration assistance to 601 Sri Lankans stranded in the region from January 2012 to June 2014. Within the framework of this programme, IOM also seeks to strengthen capacity of government officials in West Africa in the fields of migration law, counter-trafficking and protection of migrants.

Main Projects

  • Technical Support To The Government Of Ghana To Address Child Trafficking And Other Child Protection Abuses In The Ketu South, North And South Tongu Districts Of The Volta Region
  • Assisted Voluntary Rescue, Rehabilitation, Return, and Reintegration of Ghanaian Children Victims of Trafficking for Labour Exploitation in Fishing Communities in Ghana
  • Sponsorship of Trafficked Children in Ghana
  • Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration Programme
  • Assistance to Address Irregular Migration and Smuggling in West Africa: Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration

Related Documents

Last updated:
Main text: July 2015
Facts and figures: August 2014

Population (2015):27.4 million
Area:238,539 km sq
Languages :English
Currency:Ghanaian Cedi (GHS)
GDP per Capita PPP (2014):USD 4,143
HDI Rank (2014):140 of 188
Remittances (2014 estimate):USD 126 million
Net Migration Rate (2015-2020):-0.7 migrants/1,000 population
Immigrants (2015):1.5%
Women as a Percentage of Immigrants (2015):45.6%
Population under 15 (2015):38.8%
Adult HIV Prevalence (2014):1.5%

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