Germany, IOM Launch Programme to Facilitate Syrian Family Reunification

Posted: 
07/29/16
Themes: 
Family Reunification, Refugee and Asylum Issues, Resettlement

Turkey - On 27 July, IOM Turkey and the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Istanbul launched a programme to help reunite up to 35,000 families in the region with a close Syrian relative granted asylum in Germany. 

IOM’s “Family Assistance Programme (FAP) for Syrians” project, which will run at least through 2016, aims to dissuade Syrian families from seeking unsafe, irregular migration channels to reach Europe. It will also help German consular staff to efficiently process family reunification visa applications, and will better prepare Syrians for successful integration in German society.

IOM offices in Turkey and Lebanon are advising Syrian families on how to prepare and compile the documents needed to apply for a German family reunification visa. 

IOM has also initiated an Arabic-language outreach programme for Syrian family reunification visa applicants and is offering classes and information materials in Turkey to facilitate integration in Germany. 

After six years of conflict, 13.5 million Syrians are in critical need of humanitarian assistance in the region. The need for legal migration options (including family reunification programmes) continues to grow as more people are displaced from their homes each day.  In June, the number of newly displaced people inside Syria doubled from the previous month.  Last month alone, over 100,000 Syrians fled their homes.

Over 4.8 million Syrians have now sought safety in neighbouring countries. Turkey houses the largest refugee population in the world with over 2.7 million Syrians. Lebanon hosts over one million. 

According to the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), nearly half a million Syrians have registered for asylum in Germany since 2015. Of those, approximately 200,000 were granted asylum qualify for family reunification. 

At the programme launch, German Consulate General Dr. Georg Birgelen expressed his hopes for the project: “From the outset, the German Foreign Office has sought new forms of cooperation and solutions to help Syrian families exercise their right of family reunification. The IOM Family Assistance Programme is there to help applicants with all kinds of questions regarding family reunification procedures. We are convinced that this is also an important step for ensuring quick and successful integration into German society,” he said.

IOM Turkey Chief of Mission, Lado Gvilava said: “As the region continues to suffer from conflict, each year we see an increased demand for more resettlement and family reunification options. Demand for legal migration options far exceeds supply. While I am heartened to see an increase in the number of resettlement places and countries like Germany committing to family reunification programmes, more must be done. The burden must be shared. Governments, civil society and international organizations must work together to offer additional safe, orderly and legal options for people fleeing violence, to deter them risking irregular migration.”

Since 2012, IOM has facilitated over 10,000 family reunifications from the region. Over 6,000 were from Turkey. Ninety percent of those reunited with their families were women and children. So far this year, IOM Turkey has reunited over 1,000 people with their families around the world.

More information about the FAP program can be found at Familyreunion-syria.diplo.de or on Facebook @Assistance.families. For further information, please contact IOM Turkey. Eleonora Servino, Email:  info.fap.tr@iom.int or Abby Dwommoh, Tel: +90 312 454 3048, Email: MediaIOMTurkey@iom.int.

Germany plans to reunify more Syrian families. Photo: IOM.