Vakhtang, an Armenian artist (audiovisual), left Armenia in 2011 after encountering several difficulties related to his art and migrated to Belgium with his girlfriend and her two children, as well as his mother. Being a member of the Artist’s Union of Armenia (UNESCO), he explored that channel to find work in the European Union, however, the guidelines to pursue this practice turned out to be more difficult than initially expected. Not being able to regularize his situation in Belgium he took the decision to return to Armenia.
Vakhtang had previous work experience as a computer designer in the multimedia company he had founded with ex-colleagues and wished to get back to work. He took the opportunity offered by the AVRR B-connected project and applied for the Wage Subsidy reintegration package during the pre-departure counselling with the IOM Brussels reintegration specialist in Armenia and the Caucuses region. In parallel, his mother discussed her medical needs upon return.
They returned at the start of May 2014, resided with some friends upon and contacted IOM Yerevan within two weeks for post-return counselling and orientation during which it was identified that the most present need was for accommodation. Upon submission of the rental agreements, IOM covered 10 months of rent. In parallel, Vakhtang managed to be re-employed in his past job with a six months contract from June to November. IOM provided him with a salary top-up of EUR 250 per month to facilitate his reintegration. His mother, Mrs. AGHANYAN, was reimbursed her first 6 months of medication supply.
The case was monitored by IOM and Fedasil in October 2014 and in June 2015 in the context of Belgium Monitoring Missions in the field. Vakhtang was still employed but the multimedia company was not doing well due to poor demand/ contracts. He explained that looking back, he would now be more inclined to invest in the agricultural field and his current ambition was to start a goat rearing business. Vakhtang still looks back positively at his experience in Belgium and hopes that the Armenian economy will grow in the coming years, so work opportunities expand locally for Armenians.