The following is an executive summary presented by the International Migration Organization on June 19, 2013 in Toronto. For more information, please refer to www.iom.com

Overview

  • Cooperation with CIC for transportation, health services and orientation services to migrants, but also CIDA, DFAIT, HRSDC and recently CBSA;
  • IOM office in Ottawa provides the operational-level linkage between IOM and CIC for Canada’s refugee resettlement programme, in cooperation with UNHCR, service providers and sponsors.

Types of AVRR programs:
• General return assistance for irregular migrants, unsuccessful asylum seekers, refugees and others wishing to return to their home country;
• Specific return and reintegration assistance tailored to the needs of certain groups (Victims of trafficking, unaccompanied minors etc.);
• Assistance to migrants stranded in transit countries (ex. Libya, Africa).

Benefits
For migrants
• Allows for preparation to return;
• Avoids stigma of traditional returns and negative repercussions;
• Provides information & counselling, financial and/or logistical and reintegration support.
For host governments
• AVRR is an alternative to traditional returns and can often be a quicker solution;
• Facilitates sustainability of returns;
• Politically palatable – public opinion;
• Enhances cooperation with origin countries.
For governments in countries of origin
• AVRR is better option for returning migrants;
• Facilitates sustainability (concerns of communities of returns);
• AVRR can support development efforts through targeted return and reintegration;
• Politically palatable – public opinion.

AVRR process:
• Contact the CBSA to be referred to IOM – 24 hours to contact IOM’s office
• Pre-Departure:
Interview at the IOM office
If decided to enrol in the program a plan of re-integration is developed
• Travel arrangements:
 Assistance in obtaining travel documents (if needed) in cooperation with relevant consulate/embassy;
 Scheduling departure date and booking of tickets, taking into account migrants’ special needs such as medical conditions (medical / non-medical escorts might be arranged).
• Departure
Coordination with migrants to ensure they arrive at the airport on the day of departure;
Meeting returnees at the Toronto Pearson International Airport and assistance with check-in procedures and to the departure gate;
If the participant must transit a third country and transfer flights en-route, IOM staff meets and assists migrants to ensure they make their transfers.
• After arrival
Assistance at the airport and/or transportation to final destination (if needed);
Returnees need to contact the IOM office to begin implementing their reintegration plan within 30 days of arrival;
Reintegration plans may be amended upon return, if economic conditions change and a participant’s original reintegration plan is no longer tenable;
Provision of in-kind reintegration assistance within six months from the date of return;
Monitoring after six months from the date of return (returnees’ and IOM feedback on the impact of return and reintegration).

Re-integration Categories
o Additional luggage allowance upon departure
o Onward transportation upon arrival to the final destination
o Job search assistance
o Legal assistance
o Material assistance
o Medical assistance
o Small business support
o Temporary accommodation & housing
o Training & schooling

NOTE: AVRR is not available to Canadian citizens wishing to return to their countries of origin.