Regardless of how long they have been away, migrants returning home often face various challenges in rebuilding their lives, particularly those who have been victims of trafficking, have medical concerns or are single parents with limited resources. Based on participant feedback, IOM Hungary has adapted its reintegration programme to address the unique needs of vulnerable returnees.
Emir* left Turkey and made his way to Hungary with his two sons after his wife died. But without legal residency, he was unable to support his children and decided to return home. However, he learned from a friend that his house in Turkey had been badly damaged by vandals during his absence, including shattered windows and broken doors.
Emir shared this information with IOM’s Budapest office and learned that as a single parent, he was eligible as a “vulnerable” returnee to receive financial help from the mission’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme to buy needed building supplies. He lost no time applying. When he eventually returned home, he was able to purchase the tools and materials he needed to repair his home, with support from IOM Turkey.
Tailoring assistance to meet the needs of vulnerable returnees is a new element to IOM Hungary’s AVRR programme. It has long focused on providing support to revive or secure new employment for returnees in their country of origin. But information collected during monitoring visits with returnees and feedback through questionnaires, calls and online feedback forms revealed that returning migrants often have more pressing concerns and needs, like accessing medical treatment, housing or education for school-age children. For Emir, a suitable home for his children was his first priority.
IOM’s Budapest office, together with Hungary’s Ministry of Interior, created an additional component to the reintegration programme, allowing for vulnerable migrants, including unaccompanied migrant children, pregnant women, the elderly, victims of torture or trafficking, single parents, or migrants with a disability or serious medical condition, to attain support for priority needs. For Emir, they were the tools to fix his family’s home and begin rebuilding their lives.