Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) is an indispensable part of a comprehensive approach to migration management aiming at orderly and humane return and reintegration of migrants who are unable or unwilling to remain in host or transit countries and wish to return voluntarily to their countries of origin.
The successful implementation of AVRR programmes requires the cooperation and participation of a broad range of actors, including the migrants, civil society and the governments in both host and transit countries and countries of origin. The partnerships created by IOM and a diverse range of national and international stakeholders are essential to the effective implementation of AVRR – from the return preparation to the reintegration stage.
For migrants who need to return home but lack the means to do so, IOM’s AVRR programmes are often the only solution to their immediate plight. Beneficiaries of IOM’s assistance include:
- Individuals whose application for asylum was rejected or withdrawn
- Stranded migrants
- Victims of trafficking, and
- Other vulnerable groups, including unaccompanied migrant children, or those with health-related needs.
As a core activity of IOM, AVRR activities provide vital assistance to thousands of migrants every year. Building on experience and a world-wide network of offices and partners, IOM’s AVRR programmes strive to ensure that migrants in need are assisted to return voluntarily, safely and in dignity, and are supported in achieving sustainable reintegration, in full respect for human rights, regardless of their status.
IOM’s AVRR-related activities are guided by the Framework for Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration. The Framework outlines seven principles and six concrete objectives applied throughout the voluntary return and reintegration process. These principles and objectives underpin IOM’s commitment to facilitate orderly, safe, and responsible migration and to contribute to migrants’ socioeconomic well-being, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Global Compact for Migration and the Migration Governance Framework (MiGOF).
- IOM’s Approach
IOM is mandated by its Constitution to ensure orderly migration, inter alia, through voluntary return and reintegration assistance. In particular, IOM emphasizes that voluntariness remains a precondition for all its AVRR activities.
In line with its mandate, IOM’s key policy considerations when developing and implementing AVRR projects encompass:
- safeguarding dignity and rights of migrants in operating returns, while seeking adherence to applicable international principles and standards
- preserving the integrity of regular migration structures and asylum procedures
- enhancing dialogue and cooperation between origin, transit and host countries involved in the return process and reinforcing the responsibility of countries of origin towards their returning nationals
- addressing, to the extent possible, the drivers of irregular migration
- advocating for the adoption of an integrated approach to return, including post-return reintegration assistance, and
- working with national and international partners in both host country and country of origin, to promote international dialogue and implement capacity-building for AVRR initiatives.
- Return and Reintegration in the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration
The return and reintegration of migrants unwilling or unable to remain in host or transit countries have gained renewed political importance on the agenda of national and international policymakers around the world. This is reflected in the Global Compact and in particular, its Objective 21, which calls on governments to cooperate in facilitating safe and dignified return (…), as well as sustainable reintegration.
The principles and objectives outlined in the AVRR Framework contribute to achieving Objective 21 of the Global Compact, and in particular actions 21.b, 21.f, 21.h, 21.i and 21.g, which focus, among other things, on voluntary programmes, migrant children, evidence-based programming, monitoring and sustainable reintegration. They also contribute to objectives 1, 3, 4, 7, 12, 13, which focus on providing accurate and timely information, availability of information, address and reduce vulnerabilities, access to documentation and provide alternatives to detention.