Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) is a core activity of IOM which enables tens of thousands of migrants return home every year. To date, IOM Egypt has helped a total of 2,224 migrants from all around the world return home, and supported the reintegration of 1,375 returnees. This includes foreign migrants from Egypt returning to their countries of origin, as well as Egyptian migrants returning to Egypt.
AVRR from Egypt
Stranded migrants willing to return to their country of origin can be assisted through IOM’s AVRR programme. AVRR endeavours to provide sustainable options for migrants whose residence in Egypt is no longer viable or personally desirable. Essential to the provision of this service, is voluntariness; IOM will not participate in coercion to return and ensures full consent through one to one interviews with potential applicants.
Assisted Voluntary Return services include:
- Help with bureaucratic procedures
- Pre-departure screenings and counselling with experienced caseworkers and medical personnel
- Health stabilisation
- Small cash grants
- Airport assistance (pre-departure, during transit and on arrival in most cases)
- Medical or operational escorts where necessary
- Onward transportation in country of origin from airport to final destination
IOM also provides returnees with social and professional reintegration assistance on a case-by-case basis. Applicants receive specialised support for viable income-generating projects, market-relevant vocational and business training, psychosocial support or other measures that address migrants’ needs.
IOM develops an individual reintegration plan with migrants that is tailored to their skillsets and backgrounds. IOM thereby aims at alleviating the root causes for irregular migration in countries of origin and to stabilise migrant communities through assistance that benefits both the beneficiaries and their communities. When several migrants return simultaneously to a common community of origin, efforts are made to encourage work on joined projects that promote local development by capitalising on migrants’ return and the positive impact this can have on community stability.
Some restrictions are placed on return to certain countries. These restrictions are applied globally and are regularly reviewed. The restrictions intend to maintain the integrity and safety of beneficiaries who engage with the AVRR programme.
AVRR to Egypt
IOM has supported the return of Egyptians stranded in Europe, and their subsequent socio-economic reintegration in Egypt since 2011. Most of the returnees choose to start-up their own businesses with the reintegration assistance provided (96.8% of returnees in 2016), improving both their own livelihood and that of their community. One of the main vulnerable categories of Egyptian returnees that IOM is increasingly assisting is Unaccompanied Migrant Children (UMCs) who cross the Mediterranean alone in search of a new life in Europe. For UMCs, IOM Egypt and its government partners make significant efforts to ensure that the best interests of the child are at the heart of their return and reintegration.