Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR)
Globally, IOM provides return and reintegration assistance to migrants who wish to return voluntarily to their countries of origin. Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration Programmes (AVRR) are an integral part of a comprehensive approach to migration management aimed at offering humane and dignified return and reintegration options to migrants who are unable or unwilling to remain in host countries.
IOM provides logistical and financial support during the pre-departure and post-arrival stages of the return process. IOM tailors each reintegration package to promote the returnee’s self-sufficiency by providing employment opportunities, skills development, training, education, and other income-generating activities.
The successful implementation of AVRR programmes requires the cooperation and participation of a broad range of actors, including the migrants, civil society and the governments in both host countries and countries of origin. The partnerships created by IOM and a diverse range of national and international stakeholders are essential to the effective implementation of AVRRs – from the pre-return to the reintegration stages.
Who does AVRR Assist?
For migrants who need to return home but lack the means to do so, IOM’s AVRR programmes are often the only solution to their immediate plight. Beneficiaries of IOM’s assistance include:
- individuals whose application for asylum was rejected or withdrawn
- stranded migrants
- victims of trafficking, and
- other vulnerable groups, including unaccompanied migrant children, or those with health-related needs.
Over the years IOM’s AVRR programmes have evolved to deliver comprehensive return assistance including targeted country specific assistance schemes, enhanced return counseling and information provision, networking, pre-departure job-training, development and implementation of tailored reintegration assistance schemes including reception and follow-up assistance in the country of origin.
AVRR in Turkey
Since the AVRR programme began in 2009, IOM Turkey has assisted over 3,000 migrants to repatriate with the financial support of the British, Hungarian, Norwegian and Swiss Governments. The AVRR program is strictly voluntary. IOM Turkey was built strong relationships with embassies and NGOs to raise awareness and to quickly and efficiently help return willing migrants to their home country.
Upon request and/or individual identification, governments can support the assisted voluntary return of particularly vulnerable persons or migrants that are of highly political sensitivity. Migrants should contact their country’s embassies in Turkey or communicate directly with the Foreigners’ Department premises of the General Directorate for Security under the Ministry of Interior. IOM will be contacted accordingly and will facilitate the travel as required.
For particularly vulnerable migrants (i.e. migrants with serious medical needs), IPM facilitates travel under existing AVRR programme structures.
IOM will coordinate the assistance at pre-departure, in transit and upon arrival with the respective IOM offices, national authorities and civil societies Turkey and in the return country. Assistance includes counseling and information provision, medical screening, and potentially tailored reintegration assistance. Moreover, IOM can arrange an operational or medical escort if required.
On December 16, 2013, Turkey and the European Union signed a Readmission Agreement in Ankara. This reciprocal agreement establishes clear obligations and procedures for the authorities of Turkey and the EU Member States in order to swiftly return persons who are irregularly residing on their territories, in full respect of international law and fundamental rights. The agreement is expected to formally take effect in June 2016 and, both sides have committed to enhance their active cooperation on migrants who are not in need of international protection, preventing travel to Turkey and the EU, ensuring the application of the established bilateral readmission provisions and swiftly returning migrants who are not in need of international protection to their countries of origin.
IOM firmly believes AVRR is a more dignified and sustainable solution than forced removals for the migrants. There is increasing evidence that AVRR is a more cost-effective option for governments while providing a framework for cooperation and positive impact in local economies in countries of origin.