Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration Programs (AVRR)
Funded 75% by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund of the European Union (AMIF) and 25% by the Hellenic Ministry of Interior
Description: AVRR program is a core activity of IOM and has provided vital assistance to tens of thousands of migrants returning home every year, for the last four decades. During the last decade, IOM has helped more than 400.000 people to return back home with safety and dignity. AVRR reassures the financial and social reintegration of individuals and the cooperation between all stakeholders in origin and reception countries. The decision of returning back home is 100% voluntary and based on migrant’s request. A voluntary decision encompasses two elements, freedom of choice and an informed decision which requires the availability of enough accurate and objective information upon which to base the decision.
What is reintegration: According to IOM’s definition, reintegration can be defined as the re-inclusion or re-incorporation of a person into a group or process, for example, of a migrant into the society of his or her country of origin or habitual residence. Reintegration is thus a process that enables the returnee to participate again in the
social, cultural, economic and political life of his or her country of origin. Beneficiaries of AVRR are informed by specialized personnel and cultural mediators, in order to follow personalized reintegration plans, based on their needs. AVRR programs are implemented in cooperation with IOM offices, located in origin countries and benefit the returnees, the local societies and the reception countries.
Who can participate in AVRR: AVRR programs are addressed to third - country nationals who do not have the appropriate documentation to stay in Greece, or they do not desire to stay in Greece, to asylum seekers who have resigned from their request for international protection and to asylum seekers whom their application has being rejected. Special care is provided to vulnerable migrants, such as victims of trafficking, unaccompanied minors, single-parent families and individuals with medical needs etc.
The procedure: AVRR procedure contains information and pre – departure counselling sessions, assistance to obtain all appropriate documents (i.e. travel documents) and air tickets and escorting the individuals to the airport. Greece is in close cooperation with IOM offices in transit countries and countries of origin in order to assist the returnees upon arrival.
What is the role of Greece: IOM Greece plays a crucial role in AVRR’s world map. Since 2010, more than 35.000 individuals have safely returned back home with the contribution of IOM Greece. Furthermore IOM Greece has supported over 3.500 migrants to successfully complete personalized reintegration plans in terms of sustainability for themselves and their families.
Updated info for AVRR – New Reintegration Package
A new reintegration package has been created in order to enhance the voluntary returns ex Greek islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros and Kos.
In particular, the new reintegration package will be provided to non-vulnerable returnees that will be registered in the project in one of the mentioned islands. According to the plan:
- Eligible migrants are those who do not belong to a vulnerable group and will be registered in the project in Lesvos, Chios, Leros, Samos and Kos.
- This new reintegration package is given in cash. An additional amount of 500 EUR per returnee will be given at the airport the day of the departure. This provision does not replace the cash grant that all project’s beneficiaries receive prior to their departure in order to address their basic needs after leaving Greece. Instead, it doubles the assistance provided to the returnees. For example, if a non-vulnerable beneficiary has been registered in the project in Lesvos, he will receive 500EUR as reintegration cash assistance and 500EUR as one-time cash grant, in total 1000 EUR.
- Vulnerable groups from the mentioned islands will not receive the reintegration assistance in cash but the reintegration assistance in kind (1.500 EUR). With the support of IOM Reintegration Counselors they can construct a reintegration plan tailored on their needs which will contribute to their sustainability back to the countries of origin. IOM Greece collaborates closely with IOM Offices in countries of origin for the successful implementation of reintegration plans