Through the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme, IOM aims at orderly, humane and cost-effective return and reintegration of migrants who are unable or unwilling to remain in host countries and wish to return voluntarily to their countries of origin.
IOM aims to ensure the integrity of regular migration through programme which form part of a comprehensive approach to migration management, which includes efficient border management, effective asylum processing and, only as last resort, forced returns of those who do not have a legitimate basis to stay in a host country.
For migrants who need to return home but lack the means to do so, AVRRs are often the only solution to their immediate plight. Beneficiaries of AVRR programme include any person abroad requiring the humane and cost-effective support of IOM, such as rejected asylum seekers or those likely to face rejection of their claim, irregular migrants, stranded migrants, victims of trafficking, and other vulnerable groups, including unaccompanied minors elderly people, or those with particular medical needs.
The consequences of not returning such migrants in a safe and speedy way can be grave for the migrants, and place heavy socio-economic burdens on destination and transit countries’ asylum and social welfare systems.
AVRR advantages key players in its processes: for the migrant it is an humane alternative to deportation; for the country of destination it is more cost effective and administratively expedient than forced return; and for the country of origin, and its bilateral relations with the country of destination, it is less sensitive than the return of émigrés “in shackles” whilst significantly facilitating the reintegration of their nationals.
The assistance provided to returnees in IOM’s programmes is spread out to cover a number of activities conducted at different stages of implementation. There may be differences between programmes, but the essential elements of a standard AVRR are threefold:
Pre-departure stage: Counselling and return-related information dissemination on the country of origin, medical assistance (e.g., medical examinations and documentation), and transport assistance arrangement including travel documentation.
Transportation stage: Departure assistance (including travel and miscellaneous allowances), transport (movement coordination, transit assistance, escort assistance, unaccompanied baggage, documents and formalities) and medical assistance (pre-embarkation medical checks and medical escorts).
Post-arrival stage: Reception, inland transport, health-related support, disbursement of micro-grants for return, reintegration assistance (often in cooperation with local entities, and non-government organizations) as well as monitoring follow up.
Building on its experience and a network of offices and partners, IOM provides services to their governments to promote a stronger dialogue on migration management issues among destination, transit and origin countries, in order to foster cooperation and thus facilitate the sustainability of returns.