While the country is still undergoing social and economic transitional adjustments, relevant progress has been made in the field of migration management and the protection of migrants’ rights. The progress made in the area of migration management has been acknowledged by the European Union (EU) and has gained the country visa-free regime with all countries of the Schengen Area since December 2009.The country’s geographical position – being a part of the Balkan region, neighboring two European Union Member States (Greece and Bulgaria), and being itself in the process of seeking integration with the EU – makes it a unique transit route for migration, much of which is of an irregular nature. The visa-free regime with Schengen area countries has brought easier legal ways to travel and seek employment to the EU Member States but also new challenges to the country migration management system most of which relate to issues such as brain drain and lack of knowledge and proper application of EU migration laws and procedures by some of the citizens of The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

IOM’s primary objective in the country is to act in full partnership with the government as well as national and international partners and work towards strengthened and harmonized standards in all identified key migration areas. IOM activities address a variety of pressing migration-related issues including inter alia: trafficking in human beings and migrant smuggling, technical cooperation and institutional capacity-building, assistance for voluntary return and reintegration, labour migration, as well as economic and social stabilization of vulnerable migrants and potential victims of trafficking. IOM’s strategy takes into consideration the EU membership process and the need for progressive alignment with the EU migration acquis – these elements are factored into IOM’s ongoing and proposed programming.

Migration Health


  • Self-payers for Australia, Canada and New Zealand

The IOM Medical Assistance Unit continues working towards achieving better management of the public health impact of population mobility on receiving countries, as well as providing information on the medical conditions of migrants. Upon the request of the Canadian, Australian and New Zealand Governments, IOM Skopje performs medical assessments of migrants departing for permanent residence in the respective countries. Since 2000, IOM Skopje has extended medical assessment to around 11,000 migrants.

Regulating Migration


  • Governments of Switzerland, Finland, Norway, Belgium, Germany, Italy, and The Netherlands

Return Assistance to Migrants and Governments.Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) is one out of a number of migration management services IOM offers to migrants and governments. It aims at 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 their countries of origin. IOM Skopje provides variety of services to migrants returning to The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia which include: airport reception assistance, transportation to final destination, counselling and referral to assistance services, installation of reintegration grants, housing support, education reinsertion, vocational trainings, employment facilitation and micro-business set up. The caseload consists of failed asylum seekers, vulnerable returnees (those with medical condition, unaccompanied minors, victims of human trafficking, etc.), both individuals and families. The type and scope of assistance provided depends on the needs of the returnees as well as on the donor/sending countries policies and availabilities.

Facilitating Migration


  • European Commission IPA 2009 Multi-beneficiary Programme 2, IOM Development Fund as well as the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees

IOM’s purpose in labor migration is to facilitate the development of policies and programmes that can individually and mutually benefit the concerned governments, migrants and societies.

IOM Skopje is focused on the implementation of activities aimed at strengthening the existing network of Migrant Service Centers with an aim to ensure efficient dissemination of information about legal channels for migration among potential labor migrants. In view of enhancing the development impact of labor migration, while at the same time mitigating the adverse impact of emigration of skilled human resources, IOM, in close cooperation with the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, implements initiatives on the return of skills and human capital.

Since 2006, IOM Skopje has implemented a cycle of initiatives aimed to reduce the incidence of human trafficking and irregular migration among young Roma through prevention-based actions aimed at improving the beneficiaries' labor skills and consequently enhancing their employment potential. The action envisages a combination of different employment stimulation measures that range from vocational to on-the-job training courses and from provision of self-employment mechanisms and tools to awareness-raising on self-promotion and professional orientation.


  • Migration and Socio-Economic Development in the Western Balkans (February 2011-November 2012)

Last updated:
Main text: September 2012
Facts and figures: September 2014