‘Opportunities and Challenges’: International Conference on the Reintegration of Returning Migrants
Exploring the opportunities and challenges migrants face in their reintegration process when returning from the Netherlands. That was the main aim of the international conference organized by IOM in The Hague on 3 April 2014, which was part of a three day programme funded by the European Return Fund, with co-funding from the Dutch Repatriation and Departure Service.
The conference was attended by more than 100 representatives from the diplomatic community, the Dutch government, the European Union, civil society, Academia, as well as by IOM missions, government representatives and NGOs from China, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea Conakry, Libya, Mongolia, Morocco, Suriname, Belgium and Switzerland. As IOM the Netherlands in 2013 assisted 50% of its returnees with in-kind reintegration support, the conference dealt specifically with the necessity for in-kind reintegration modalities, including the importance of professional pre-departure and post-arrival counselling, and the advantages related to delivering it.
On 2 April IOM organized field visits for the participants from the counties of origin. During these visits potential returnees in various parts of the Netherlands received first-hand information about return and reintegration options. On the day after the Conference, 4 April, delegations of the countries of origin met with their diplomatic representations in the Netherlands and Dutch government officials for further bilateral discussions.
The programme supported the need to evaluate the impact of reintegration assistance provided under Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) projects, as well as to strengthen the coordination among different stakeholders in the return and reintegration process. With the outcomes of the conference, IOM aims to contribute to future policies and practices that will enhance the effectiveness and sustainability of voluntary return and reintegration. The final results will be composed in an e-booklet, which will be available on the IOM website soon (www.iom-nederland.nl).