IOM Greece Supports over 2,000 Voluntary Returnees to Reintegrate, Start Businesses Back Home
Athens – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, announced today (24/10) that more than 2,000 migrants who returned home voluntarily from Greece have successfully implemented personalized reintegration plans in their countries of origin over the last 15 months.
The 2,084 beneficiaries who returned home voluntarily from Greece with IOM support between June 2016 and September 2017 put their reintegration assistance to use through a grant of 1,500 euros in in-kind support, provided exclusively or in combination, to set up small businesses or receive medical assistance, education, temporary accommodation, vocational assistance, material assistance, and job placement.
The vast majority of approved reintegration plans were for setting up small businesses (1,953).
Gianluca Rocco, IOM Chief of Mission in Greece, explained that reintegration support is an essential component of IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) projects because it further strengthens a cooperative, humanitarian approach for people who have decided to return home from Greece.
“Building on the collaboration between Greece and the countries of origin, this reintegration support enhances opportunities for social and economic sustainability, both for returnees and local communities,” he said.
IOM’s social workers and psychologists, working with cultural mediators, conducted 3,671 individual counselling sessions with voluntary returnees, 2,084 of whom were eligible for reintegration assistance.
The main considerations for selecting candidates to be approved for reintegration support are a person’s vulnerability, work experience, and skills that can guarantee the sustainability of the reintegration plan.
“My dream has become a reality. I have not only returned to my home country, but I also have the ability to teach young people. My private coaching school may be an innovation for my city, but for me is something more. It is my new way of life,” says Eliso Basheleishvili from Georgia. Read her story and others here.
The vast majority of voluntarily returning migrants originate from Pakistan (1,184), Georgia (342) and Iraq (173). Some 1,750 beneficiaries were male and 334 were female.
Hassan Hosseini, a voluntary returnee from Afghanistan, decided to invest in a metal workshop in Kabul after his return. He approached his former boss, a metal smith, with whom he had worked before leaving for Europe, to explore an interest in starting a business together. With the assistance of IOM’s offices in Greece and Afghanistan, the plan became reality. Read Hassan’s story here.
IOM global presence makes reintegration assistance available worldwide, and the assistance is based on collaboration between the countries where the plans are being implemented.
IOM in Greece currently works closely with over 25 IOM offices and third countries to enhance tailored reintegration assistance, link it with the needs of the local labour market, and ensure long-term, sustainable reintegration assistance.
IOM’s reintegration assistance is provided under the framework of the EU and Greek government supported programme Implementation of Assisted Voluntary Returns including Reintegration Measures (AVRR) funded by the EU’s Asylum Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and by the Greek Ministry of Interior.
The AVRR programme in Greece is open to undocumented third-country nationals, those who no longer want to stay in Greece, asylum seekers who have abandoned their request for international protection, or those whose asylum application has been rejected. Beneficiaries come from both the mainland and the Greek islands.
For more information please contact Christine Nikolaidou, Tel: +30 210 991 9040 ext. 248, Email: email@example.com or Zoi Vanikioti at IOM Athens, Tel: +30 210 991 9040 ext. 154, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org