EU funded projects 2012-2015
- AVRR B-Advanced (2015)
- MAGNET II: Job Placement Assistance in Iraq, KRG (2014-2015)
- MAGNET I: Job Placement Assistance in Iraq KRG (2012-2013)
- Voluntary Return European Network (VREN) (2012 - 2013)
The AVRR B-Advanced project provides enhanced reintegration assistance packages to eligible REAB applicants to assist them further with their reintegration plans in country of origin. It delivers a viable and humanitarian response to the needs of migrants who are not able to remain in Belgium.
The program aims for returnees to invest in an income generating activity such as :
- To start, re-start, or partner in a micro-business or an agricultural or livestock activity, thus encouraging self-employment & entrepreneurship.
- To take on employment and benefit from wage subsidy support
- To develop their skills for employability by completing vocational training or by continuing with schooling or further education
You will find examples of such assistance in the section on Stories of return and reintegration.
The program also aims to respond to the identified vulnerabilities of returnees by covering for complex medical or urgent material household needs.
The IOM reintegration teams in country of origin deliver the assistance in consultation with the IOM Brussels team of reintegration counselors following a flexible, needs oriented, and participative approach. The services provided are:
- Orientation and counselling throughout the reintegration process,
- development and implementation of reintegration plans,
- redaction of micro-business plans,
- delivery of in-kind grants,
- referrals to relevant governmental institutions,
- referrals to local partner organizations.
The complete package allows for the maximized sustainability of the reintegration project which is key. The aim is for the returnees to generate sufficient income to respond to their basic household needs.
The eligibility of applicants is defined by the Fedasil Criteria (FR (link is external) (link is external) /NL (link is external) (link is external) ) and assessed by the reintegration counsellors in Belgium with a thorough pre-departure reintegration counselling session and with the development of a Reintegration Plan. When need be, and upon demand, an interpreter is made available during counselling.
The project, which started on 1 July 2015 and finished on 30 June 2016, continued the Fedasil and EU supported IOM enhanced reintegration assistance projects implemented in the past years.
AVRR B-Advanced is co- funded by Fedasil under the Fedasil Reintegration Program (link is external) and by the European Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) – Belgium National Actions (link is external).
The AVRR B-Connected project started on the 1st of January 2014 and ended on the 30th of June 2015. It aimed at strengthening and further developing the AVRR approach in Belgium by building on and improving the existing REAB Reintegration programs that were supported by the European Commission (European Return Fund - National Actions) from 2008 onwards.
The project beneficiaries were asylum seekers awaiting a response on their asylum status, failed asylum seekers who received an order to leave the territory of Belgium less than a month before applying for REAB AVRR, and identified vulnerable cases, and unaccompanied minors and ex-UAMs until the age of 21. The criteria for eligibility to access the project were defined by Fedasil and depended on the immigration status or the vulnerability of a case.
The project provided additional voluntary return and reintegration support packages provisions through thorough pre-departure and post-return counselling and orientation, with three diverse reintegration schemes responding to the specific needs of individual beneficiaries:
- micro-business implementation support
- the possibility to receive wage and/or vocational subsidies
- medical and/or material assistance needed in relation to identified vulnerabilities
The additional reintegration ERF grant was of €1.500 per case on top of the standard National Reintegration Fund of €700 per adult and €350 per accompanied minor, and (if applicable) on top of the standard National Vulnerable Case Fund of €500 per vulnerable person.
In addition, cost of the translation of key documents (for e.g. medical certificates, educational diplomas, curriculums, and school letters for children) was covered.
An International Reintegration Seminar was held in December 2014 in Brussels with participation of the 10 reintegration focal points (Afghanistan, (IOM Kabul), Armenia (IOM Yerevan), Georgia (IOM Tbilisi), Guinea Conakry (IOM Conakry), Iran (IOM Teheran), Iraq (IOM Erbil), Kazakhstan (IOM Almaty), Nepal (IOM Kathmandu), Pakistan (IOM Lahore), and Russia (IOM Moscow)), the IOM Belgium Migrant Assistance Unit, and REAB partners.
Specific support to UMCs and ex- UMCs from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Morocco and six Balkan countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo (UNSC 1244), FYROM Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania) include:
- Tailored pre-departure counselling and reintegration assistance
- Outreach towards civil society in the country of return
- Training sessions for legal guardians
- Four days exchange visit to Belgium in October 2014
- Updated CoO city profiles
Continued capacity building and support of all REAB AVRR stakeholders and implementing partners both in Belgium and in countries of return (i.e. the Fedasil return counsellors, the Fedasil pre-departure reintegration counsellors, the CAW de Terp, the Rode Kruis Vlaanderen, the Croix-Rouge de Belgique, the Guardianship services, all REAB Network Partners), and IOM Reintegration assistants in countries of return is guaranteed by:
- IOM on the site visits to local REAB partners
- Partner network meetings
- Training delivered to the focal point of four Belgium cities (CAW De Terp in Antwerpen, Liege, Charleroi, and Oostende/Brugge).
A mapping exercise of Belgium-based diaspora organization from Armenia, Georgia, Guinea, Mongolia and Nepal was conducted in Brussels and in other major cities in Belgium. IOM’s objective was to strengthen its contacts with diaspora organizations that may play a key role as mediators between migrants – outside of the reception structures – and the REAB/AVRR assistance partners to reinforce their capacities in relaying information on IOM’s activities and its REAB/AVRR programme.
An AVRR online application has been developed allowing REAB partners to submit voluntary return and reintegration applications online, insert case information during the pre-departure process, and receive feedback on the migrants they assisted. In a next phase, this application will be thoroughly tested and fine-tuned where need be. Specific trainings on the use of the application will be given to REAB partners and Belgian counterparts.
The project is co-funded by the European Return Fund National Actions 2013 at 60% and co-funded by Fedasil, the AVRR coordinating institution in Belgium. The project is overseen by the Belgian Immigration Office who manages the ERF in Belgium.
The B-Tailored project was the continuation of the EU Return Fund National Actions projects implemented since 2008. It started on the 1st of January 2013 and finished at the end of June 2014. It was funded by the European Return Fund (ERF) National Actions 2012 and co-funded by Fedasil. The project was monitored by the Belgian Immigration Office with Fedasil as the coordinating institution.
The beneficiaries were migrants who returned in 2013 with the following immigration status:
- Asylum seekers awaiting a response on their asylum status
- Failed asylum seekers who received an Order to Leave the Territory of Belgium less than a month before applying for REAB AVRR.
The B-Tailored project allowed for an enhancement of the standard national return and reintegration support packages to 369 AVRR cases who returned in 2013 in view of facilitating their sustainable return, as well as the monitoring of the assistance for up to 1 year after return. The financial assistance offered represented an additional reintegration grant of €1.500 per case, on top of the standard REAB reintegration and vulnerable case funds. The assistance was delivered in a participative manner and was focused on Micro-business activities in countries of return, on wage subsidy support for employment opportunities, and the needs based assistance to vulnerable cases (medical cases, unaccompanied minors, ex-UMCs, and Victims of Trafficking). The assistance was communicated in Belgium with stories of return and reintegration uploaded to the IOM website. Note that pre-departure counselling on these enhanced reintegration options was provided to a total of 496 cases in 2013 by IOM, Fedasil, the Immigration Office, and Red Cross Flanders.
The AVRR B-Tailored Micro-business Focal Points in 10 countries of origin provided all necessary information pre and post return in Afghanistan, Armenia, Bangladesh, Georgia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, and Russia.
The Reintegration Country Sheets were updated for 20 countries of return : Armenia, Afghanistan, Democratic republic of Congo, Georgia, Iraq, Kosovo, Morocco, Pakistan, Russia, Ukraine, Mongolia, Nepal, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Ecuador, Bangladesh, Guinea Conakry, Iran, Kyrgyzstan.
In addition, a restructuring and strengthening of the REAB Partner network was done.
Furthermore, the AVRR Web Application was developed to allow REAB partners to submit applications online, insert case information during the pre-departure process, and to receive case feedback.
The B-Extra project was the continuation of the EU Return Fund National Actions projects implemented since 2008. It started on the 1st January 2012 and finished at the end of June 2013. It was funded by the European Return Fund (ERF) National Actions 2011 and co-funded by Fedasil. The project was monitored by the Belgian Immigration Office with Fedasil as the coordinating institution.
The beneficiaries were migrants who returned in 2012 and whose immigration status corresponded to the Fedasil criteria for access to the Programme:
- Asylum seekers awaiting a response on their asylum status
- Failed asylum seekers who received an Order to Leave the Territory of Belgium less than a month before applying for REAB AVRR.
The B-Extra project allowed for an enhancement of the standard national return and reintegration support packages to 277 AVRR cases in view of facilitating their sustainable return, as well as the monitoring of the assistance for up to 1 year after return. The financial assistance offered represented an additional reintegration grant of €1.500 per case, on top of the standard REAB reintegration and vulnerable case funds. The assistance was delivered in a participative manner and was focused on Micro-business activities in countries of return, on wage subsidy support for employment opportunities, and the needs based assistance to vulnerable cases (medical cases, unaccompanied minors, ex-UMCs, and Victims of Trafficking). The assistance was communicated in Belgium with Stories of return and reintegration uploaded to the IOM website.
The local capacity of reintegration Focal Points in 10 countries of origin was developed in Afghanistan, Armenia, Bangladesh, Georgia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, and Russia.
Pre-departure counselling guidelines were developed and training was delivered to guide the AVRR counsellors in their day to day tasks, and Micro-Business trainings were delivered to REAB Partners.
The Reintegration Country Sheets were created for 20 countries of return : Armenia, Afghanistan, Democratic republic of Congo, Georgia, Iraq, Kosovo, Morocco, Pakistan, Russia, Ukraine, Mongolia, Nepal, Kazakhstan, Nigeria and Ecuador.
Furthermore, the architecture for the future AVRR Web Application was outlined through a prototype for the online tool and initial preparation for development was started.
MAGNET II is a job placement project for Returnees from Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK returning voluntarily to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KR-I).
MAGNET supports Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) beneficiaries who often encounter difficulties in finding employment on their own, having spent extended periods of time abroad. At the same time, the project helps local businesses in the booming KR-I economy who are in need of staff. The project reminds us of the importance of financial security provided by stable employment for returnees – it is key to emotional and material well-being and thus to successful reintegration into the community.
The project has been designed for a duration of 24 months – from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2016 – and is managed by the IOM Paris office, in close cooperation with IOM Iraq and other IOM offices in the participating countries. MAGNET II is funded by the EU Return Fund and co-funded by the French Ministry of Interior (Immigration Directorate), the British Home Office, the Belgian Federal Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (Fedasil), the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) and the Dutch Repatriation and Departure Service (Ministry of Security and Justice). The project implementation is further supported by the Kurdistan Regional Government (Bureau of Migration and Displacement, and Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs).
For more information on this project, contact Mr. Andreas De Boer (email@example.com, tel: +32 (0) 2 287 74 29).
The objective of the MAGNET Project was to strengthen the coordination and cooperation between four EU Member States (Austria, Belgium, France and the Netherlands) regarding the reintegration of Iraqi nationals returning to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (Kurdistan Regional Government – KRG) as part of national voluntary return programmes, in order to develop a common approach and to improve the long-term reintegration of the beneficiaries. The first phase of the project ran from the 1st of January 2012 to the 30th of June 2013.
The MAGNET Project can be considered a success both from a quantitative and qualitative point of view. In terms of figures, the project counts 106 beneficiaries, who have been referred to nearly 150 positions. Furthermore, 46 beneficiaries have found employment for an internal target of 30 and more than 100 businesses have recorded almost 400 job offers in the project database.
With regards to the caseload from Belgium, some key statistical data and trends can be highlighted (from Jan 2012 to the end of June 2013). In total, 47 Magnet beneficiaries from Belgium (a total of 47 Iraqis who returned from Belgium) were assisted under the Magnet project in the KRG. This means that 47 applications were recorded in the “Job Seekers Database” since the start of the project which represents about 42% of the total Magnet caseload.
Out of these 47 beneficiaries:
- 17 cases are employed (46% of all employed thanks to MAGNET) through MAGNET staff counselling and the vacancies they found for the returnees
- 7 cases are employed, were counselled and oriented within MAGNET, but found the job they agreed to take on from their own network
- 16 cases were looking for work at the end of the project
- 7 cases cancelled their MAGNET profile
Two specific cases were monitored by IOM Brussels in Iraq in October 2012 and all cases were monitored by IOM Iraq.
On June 30th 2013, the MAGNET Project winds up its activities after 18 months of providing job counseling, orientation, referral and support to more than 100 beneficiaries (107 returnees registered for the project; however 16 of these withdrew, giving us a figure of 91 “active” beneficiaries, the figure which is used for statistical analysis).
On a more personal level, feedback from MAGNET Project beneficiaries has been overwhelming. Almost all beneficiaries attended the job fair and workshop organized in their governorate and messages of thanks received by the project focal points in Iraq have been countless. Even those returnees who have not found employment have declared their unwavering support, bringing attention to the importance of the psychological benefit provided by MAGNET.
MAGNET also seems to have struck a chord with the private sector, which has recognized the project’s role in facilitating recruitment procedures. As the Manager of Human Resources for the supermarket chain Carrefour explained at a MAGNET Project event: “MAGNET eases what is usually a complex recruitment process, and connects us with qualified individuals who have the international background we value.” Job fair attendance by local companies was impressive: more than 50 businesses participated in at least one job fair including many multinationals such as Lafarge Cement, Pepsi, Sheraton Hotels, Carrefour and the Coca-Cola Company.
MAGNET has brought together returnees searching for work and businesses looking to recruit, to the benefit of all parties, and in particular to the benefit of the returnees and their long-term reintegration. This is highlighted by the numerous success stories including that of Mohammed Abbas Mohammed, 32. This young man spent six years in Europe before returning to the KR-I in late 2012. Through MAGNET, he attended six interviews with various companies, before finally settling on a salesman’s position with the company Samsung where he earns 1600 USD per month and is provided with a company car.
Magnet booklet: https://www.magnet-project.eu/resources/booklet/
Magnet leaflet: https://www.magnet-project.eu/resources/leaflet/
The “Voluntary Return European Network” (VREN) responded to the needs expressed by the European Commission in the Return Fund Work Programme 2010 for an improved cooperation amongst Member States and between the national stakeholders in the field of voluntary return and reintegration (AVRR). The participating sixteen States were Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, The United Kingdom, and Switzerland (associated).
The network was implemented in 2012 and 2013 to:
be an effective platform to exchange information, ensure visibility, and coordinate activities
be a reference source for updated information in the field of AVRR
strengthen awareness and compliance with the standards set forth by the EU Return Directive (2008/115)
The “Voluntary Return European Network” was an e-community of Members working in the field of voluntary return (i.e. represented by governmental officials, NGOs, International Organizations, and other stakeholders) and was built up through the contributions of its users, with IOM supporting them in doing so. The outputs of this project were an e-library, an AVRR e-compendium, vis-à-vis meetings and conferences, online discussions, National Stakeholder Network meetings, and regular newsletters.
As the first-ever practitioner-led network on AVRR, VREN managed to connect Member States further in a series of collaborative exercises, fostering information exchange and expanding knowledge of all aspects related to AVR(R) in the EU. Throughout these exercises, we have witnessed the outstanding efforts that AVR(R) practitioners put into their daily work, and analyzed the challenges they faced. The collaborative spirit which sprung from this network has allowed for practitioners to work in partnership and put themes of mutual interest and prime importance at the heart of debates on the future of AVR(R) in Europe. Repeatedly, members stated the importance of having information exchange programs to enable them to advance concrete recommendations for their national policy agendas.
As of January 2014, VREN was continued by the European Migration Network (EMN) as they established the Return and Reintegration Experts Group (REG). The REG of the EMN collects actual information on best practices on voluntary and forced return with the objective to improve the operational cooperation between Member States regarding return issues. The REG produces reports http://www.emnbelgium.be/publication-type/emn-reports-studies/reg and the EMN Return Experts Group (REG) Directory.