Magnet II final conference

Brussels - The MAGNET II project, which facilitates the sustainable reintegration of Iraqi nationals who voluntarily return from six European countries to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) through vocational training and job placements, came to a close after a final meeting in Brussels on 17 March 2016. 

The final conference, which was hosted by IOM, brought together government officials from the KRI and the project’s six participating European countries: Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Representatives from the European Commission (DG Migration and Home Affairs) and Switzerland also participated in the meeting.

Between April 2014 and March 2016, the MAGNET project supported more than 170 returnees, with 86 finding employment, while 63 benefited from vocational, IT and language trainings to improve their prospects of finding a job. This is a significant achievement during this period of multiple threats and challenges in KRI, which include the fight against ISIS, the subsequent massive displacement of more than one million Iraqis from the central region to the KRI, the ongoing fiscal crisis and the overall economic downturn.

“Despite these challenges and the fact that MAGNET doesn’t provide the full range of reintegration services, such as support for housing and business startups, MAGNET and similar reintegration projects are extremely important for the Kurdistan Regional Government,” said Shokr Yasseen Yasseen, the Director of the Bureau for Migration and Displacement of the Ministry of Interior of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq.

“The key to the success of the MAGNET II project is the individual counselling and mentoring support provided by IOM staff over a longer period of time as returnees seek employment and reestablish their lives in their communities of origin. Programmes like MAGNET II play a crucial role in the sustainable reintegration of returning migrants,” said Nazanine Nozarian, MAGNET II Project Manager.

Of the 141 beneficiaries interviewed at the end of the project, more than 77 percent reported satisfaction with their participation in the MAGNET II project. One of the beneficiaries, Goran Hasan Sadiq, said “I am very glad to have been assisted by MAGNET. I am lucky to have found a job only two months after my return to Erbil. Although my salary is low, USD 450 per month, I think this is a good start when you look at the current economic crisis in the KRI.” Goran is employed as a security guard in one of Erbil’s four-star hotels.   

Of the companies that hired staff through MAGNET, 79 percent reported they were satisfied with the performance of their employees. Abdulkhaliq Abdullah, HR manager of Barza Security Company said: “MAGNET is an important project. It gives hopes to returnees and opportunities for companies and businesses looking for employees. It is interesting to see that the project also provides vocational training to upgrade the returnees’ skills before starting the job.”

Raffaella Battella of the European Commission (DG Migration and Home Affairs) said, “The EC encourages the participating EU Member States and the Kurdistan Regional Government to keep supporting migrants to find jobs in the KRI. IOM should continue to build synergies with other reintegration projects and to work with multiple stakeholders, including consulates.”

IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Thomas Lothar Weiss said: “IOM saw a significant increase in the voluntary return of Iraqis in the last quarter of 2015. Thousands of Iraqi migrants travelled to Europe in 2015, but did not find the opportunities they were seeking and have chosen to return. In cooperation with government authorities, donor agencies and humanitarian partners, IOM is pleased to assist these returnees with socio-economic and moral support to rebuild their future in Iraq”.

For further information please visit www.magnet-project.eu or contact IOM France, Nazanine Nozarian, Tel. +33 1 40 44 06 84, Email: nnozarian@iom.int or IOM Iraq, Sandra Black, Tel. +964 751 234 2550, Email: sblack@iom.int