IOM Dominican Republic Resumes Voluntary Return of Vulnerable Migrants to Haiti

Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration

Dominican Republic - IOM, in close coordination with the Government of the Dominican Republic, has ‎helped 170 vulnerable Haitian migrants to voluntarily return to their communities of origin in Northern Haiti. Over half of the returnees were women and a third were children.

Jorge Baca, IOM Chief of Mission in the Dominican Republic, said: “Despite the historic opportunity that the National Regularization Plan has meant to irregular migrants in the Dominican Republic, many were not able to register. This, plus the fact that there are very few income generating activities or jobs available to them, is pushing families to opt for a dignified return solution like IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) program.”

Since 2010, the AVRR program, carried out in coordination with the Dominican Republic’s General Directorate of Migration and the Dominican Ministry of Interior and Police has provided a lifeline for these migrants.

IOM supports Haitian migrants returning to their country of origin with a stipend for their initial costs and a stipend for each child given to the mother. Once back home, on behalf of IOM, NGOs provide an education grant for each child of school age, which is paid directly to schools.

During the reintegration stage, returnees receive access to business training and capital to start small businesses, as well as access to an income generation scheme supported by IOM. Follow-up is carried out by IOM staff and partner NGOs.

Through its National Regularization Plan, the Dominican Republic has regularized over 239,000 irregular migrants and has said that the identification documents provided will allow them to register in the country’s social security system.

IOM’s AVRR program, which started in September 2010 and is funded by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM), will now restart, after a pause during the implementation of the National Regularization Plan. It has already helped over 4,000 Haitians to return to their places of origin in Haiti.

For further information, please contact Alicia Sangro at IOM Dominican Republic, +1 809-688-8174    Ext.224 Email:

A Haitian mother waits in Santiago de los Caballeros to board a bus to her community of origin in Northern Haiti. Photo: IOM / Yamil Orozco